Large property near I-75, racino could be developed under new state law

State law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday readies 196 acres next to the Miami Valley Gaming racino to Warren County.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

A state law signed on this month by Gov. Mike DeWine allows Warren County’s port authority to buy 196 acres of prison land next to the Miami Valley Gaming racino in an area near Interstate 75 exploding with commercial and retail development.

The sale opens land across Ohio 63 from the Lebanon and Warren Correctional institutions in Turtlecreek Twp. for future development in Warren County, which has seen strong growth in commercial and residential development in the past decade.

“We view it as a positive sign from the state and a partnership move. That tells us the state is still willing to work with us,” said Matt Schnipke of the Warren County Port Authority.

The initiative to sell the state land began while John Kasich was governor and moved forward in 2016 as the state stopped farming lands around eight prisons. The Warren County land is some of more than 700 acres there formerly farmed by the state prison.

Without the new law, the deadline for sale of up to 12,500 acres of state land, later narrowed down to less than 7,000, would have passed at the end of September.

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State law signed Thursday by Gov. Mike DeWine clears the way for sale of 196 acres to Warren County, provided an easement is left to this sewage treatment plant on Ohio 63.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

On Sept. 24, the Warren County Regional Planning Commission Executive Committee recommended approval of changes to the zoning of the 196 acres, which wraps around the racino property at the northeast corner of Union Road and Ohio 63, just east of Monroe.

The land uses would be “similar to the industrial uses developed in the nearby Park North Industrial Park that has been developed with a variety of warehousing and fulfillment center uses,” according to a staff report.

Other potential uses would include entertainment and recreation, lodging, service, retail and professional office.

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The sale would include an easement so prison officials could still get to the sewage treatment plant for the prisons. The deadline for sale is now June 30, 2021.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed H.B. 614 which made available an additional $650 million in coronavirus relief funds to Ohio local governments. It also readied 196 acres of state land for sale to Warren County.

Other state land that was not included in the new law is available around the Warren County prisons and includes roughly 767 acres along Ohio 63, east of the I- 75 interchange, a Premium Outlets Mall and other retail development.

There are 558 acres north of Ohio 63, east of Union Road, and 209 acres south of Ohio 63, most on the southwest corner of Ohio 63′s intersection with Ohio 741, just west of Lebanon city limits, according to maps provided by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

It is also just west of 1,400 acres, including Otterbein SeniorLife’s main campus and the Union Village planned community.

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