West Chester trustees consider landscape district

Cincinnati Dayton Road between I-75 and West Chester Road is now fully open from an improvement project after construction has slowed down traffic in the area for months. There are some odds and ends like the decorative lighting and other features still to come but all four lanes are now open Monday, Oct. 7. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Cincinnati Dayton Road between I-75 and West Chester Road is now fully open from an improvement project after construction has slowed down traffic in the area for months. There are some odds and ends like the decorative lighting and other features still to come but all four lanes are now open Monday, Oct. 7. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The West Chester Twp. trustees are considering a new landscape and maintenance district on the stretch of Cincinnati Dayton Road from Olde West Chester to Interstate 75.

There are 81 parcels and 56 distinct property owners in the proposed district that would raise $4,000 annually and be in place 10 years. Finance Director Ken Keim said the largest per-parcel cost would be $556, and the average is $49, based on road frontage. Non-profits like St. John Evangelical Catholic Church and the VFW Post are not included in the assessment.

Keim said the money would be used to replace the decorative mailboxes and poles that hold street signs that were installed as part of the $7.8 million widening project that concluded last fall.

A resolution set for a vote tonight was tabled to give officials more time to answer community questions.

“Because there were so many questions and concerns raised about the proposed landscape district at the public hearing, the (township) administrator determined it best not to move forward with a vote at this time,” said township spokeswoman Barb Wilson. “The administrator has listed the topic as a discussion item for this evening’s meeting to gain further direction on the matter from the trustees.”

Trustee Mark Welch told the Journal-News he opposes excluding the non-profits from the nominal cost.

“I would like to see the non-profits participate in this,” Welch said. “Just because they are a non-profit I don’t think that they should get a pass on helping to beautify the community that they are in, because they’re going to benefit from it to.”

Several years ago the township put a lighting district on properties in the Olde West Chester section of the road improvement, from West Chester Road to Cresthaven Avenue, to maintain the decorative street lighting that was installed as part of the project.

RELATED: Catholic church opposes lighting project in Olde West Chester

At that time St. John’s Business Manager Joan Seibenick wrote a letter to the township saying the antique-looking lights are “like slapping lipstick on a pig” in an area that is not quaint or charming. After she found out the cost would only be $69 she said the church would go along with whatever the majority of the property owners wanted.

When contacted about this new proposal she said she was not aware of it and had no comment.

The trustees held a public hearing on the matter two weeks ago and there were several questions. Victoria Alvarez, who would be assessed $60 if the district is created, had several.

“Only in West Chester do they give you mailboxes and then they send you a letter and say you owe us $60 (per) year for 10 years,” she said adding she never received a letter asking her if she wanted the mailbox installed. “I’d like to know if you don’t spend all that money each year where does it go? He said it goes into a fund, after the 10 years where does the money go that doesn’t get spent?”

Trustee Board President Ann Becker replied the money “would definitely stay right there in Olde West Chester area and Cincinnati Dayton Road it would never be used for anything else.”

Keim said any excess funds could be used for amenities such as landscaping and possibly benches down the road if the funds build up.

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