UPDATED: Waggoner Road project tax deal needs yet another Reynoldsburg council 'do over' vote

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
Reynoldsburg City Hall

Editor’s note: City attorney Chris Shook notified ThisWeek on Nov. 2 that Reynoldsburg City Council would vote on a TIF ordinance for a third time Nov. 23 to ensure a “legally correct” timeline. Shook said the Oct. 26 vote occurred incorrectly because it did not allow a 30-day waiting period between the public hearing and final vote, as required by Ohio law.

The third time is the charm, right? 

The Oct. 26 meeting of the Reynoldsburg City Council included a “do over” vote on the creation of a tax-increment-financing district planned for a new M/I Homes development that will need to be done over – again.  

City attorney Chris Shook said council will have to vote on the TIF ordinance for a third time Nov. 23 to ensure a “legally correct” timeline. 

Shook said two prior "final" votes by council – on Oct. 12 and 26 – both occurred incorrectly because they did not allow a 30-day waiting period between the public hearing and final vote, as required by Ohio law.  

The public hearing was Sept. 28, meaning the Oct. 26 vote by council still missed the mark on the mandatory waiting period by two days. 

“Not the cleanest timeline, but it will be a legally correct timeline, and that is what matters, getting it right,” he said. 

The procedural hiccup means both of council’s previous votes are “void ab initio” under state law and council must revote on it, Shook said.  

The Latin phrase “simply means that the prior council vote did not happen and they had to have a new vote,” Shook said. “It is unusual, and I think we learned how best to avoid situations like that in the future, so even though the phrase ‘void ab initio’ is kinda cool to say, I hope to not have to do that again."  

With council’s approval, the TIF district would encompass 130 acres on the east side of Waggoner Road, near the intersection with Rodebaugh Road.    

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism used by local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. It locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue from traditional property-tax collecting entities to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.   

Officials hope to leverage an estimated $20 million in TIF funds over the next decade to improve Waggoner between Broad and Main streets, including the addition of sidewalks and streetlights.   

M/I plans to build 354 single-family houses over the next five years in a community to be called Spring Hill Farms.   

The houses are expected to cost $290,000 to about $400,000, according to information provided by M/I Homes. The city annexed the property from Truro Township.   

The TIF breaks down the 130-acre parcel into six incentive districts, each of which could start collecting funds at a different time.   

The 10-year "life" of each incentive district won't start until there is at least $2 million worth of building improvements, meaning construction on Waggoner Road won't happen until the TIF district begins collecting revenue.  

Reynoldsburg officials said the road work could start as soon as 2023. Plans call for improvements along Waggoner Road in two phases, each estimated to cost about $7.5 million, Mayor Joe Begeny said.   

Phase 1 would stretch from Broad Street to Priestley Drive. Phase 2 would complete the improvements from Priestley to Main Street, with the potential to add a more visible entrance to Pine Quarry Park.   

M/I expects to break ground next spring.   

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