COVINGTON — The Covington Council held a public hearing to review the proposed Downtown Redevelopment District and obtain public comments during its regular meeting on Monday.
Nate Green, a representative of the Montrose Group, a consultant for the village, was in attendance for the hearing. Green gave an overview of the project and answered residents’ questions.
According to Green, the Montrose Group, which is based out of Columbus, has facilitated 14 DRD programs throughout the state of Ohio.
“The intent behind this program is as a historic preservation and economic development incentive tool,” Green said.
To form a DRD, a municipality needs to have a building or an area on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed Covington DRD would be anchored by the old fire house, located at 109 E. Spring St., Green said. The area of the DRD would be a total of approximately 10 acres that would include parcels going west to High Street, picking up parcels at North High Street and Wright Street, heading further north on High Street to the intersection of Broadway and High, and including parcels east and west of this intersection. A map of the proposed Covington DRD is available from the village of Covington.
If this proposed DRD were put in place, the village could use approximately 70 percent of any new property taxes to go toward improvements in the DRD. DRDs do not raise property tax but redirect a portion of the future growth, Green noted.
The hope is to incentivize developers and building owners to make capital investments in properties within the DRD. Green said the revenue within the Covington DRD will be generated through building investment, which will cause an increase in building value, resulting in an increase in property taxes. The DRD takes the 70 percent of the new property tax generated and uses it to fund grants, loans, public infrastructure and economic development, and non-profit organizations.
Pending approval of the program, Village Administrator Mike Busse said council will create the Covington DRD Operating Committee for the purpose of developing the DRD area.
Green suggests the committee consist of the village mayor, village administrator, a member of the Planning and Zoning Board, a representative from the Covington Exempted Village School District, a downtown business owner, and a representative of the Covington Chamber of Commerce.
The appointed committee will carry out a number of responsibilities including meeting with property and business owners in the DRD to determine what issues they face and how the committee and village can assist them; market the DRD to property owners within the DRD as well as to developers and business owners outside of Covington; work with the village to determine the infrastructure improvements that need to be made in and around the DRD to enhance Covington; and examine revenues generated in the DRD and make recommendations to council for the use of the revenue, among other things.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a public hearing for Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m., to review and obtain public comments on a proposed zoning map amendment for 152 N. High St. If approved as requested by the property owner, the zoning of the property in question would be changed from Central Business District to R-1 residential.
• Approved pay request No. 1 to Peterson Construction for the Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements phase two blower replacement project in the amount of $210,730. Busse noted this replacement will allow long-term conservation of energy when compared to use of the current blower.
• Approved pay request No. 2 to Peterson Construction for the WWTP improvements phase two blower replacement project in the amount of $25,506. This pay request does not include project retainage.
• Accepted the resignation of Kyle Boehringer, effective Aug. 30, 2019.
• Authorized the village administrator to make a conditional offer to Michael Weber to fill the village services supervisor position, pending a successful background check. Weber will start at Level I $30 per hour. His proposed start date will be Monday, Sept. 9.
• Held a first reading on a resolution to establish a formal credit card use policy for the village of Covington.
Mayor Ed McCord noted the Government Center will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of Labor Day. The Sept. 2 council meeting will be rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.
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