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Springboro won’t pay for road needed for approved housing development

This sharp curve would be eliminated by a new township road that was to be built  as a condition of approval of a new subdivision just south of Springboro city limits. Springboro has decided it can't afford it. 
LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF
This sharp curve would be eliminated by a new township road that was to be built as a condition of approval of a new subdivision just south of Springboro city limits. Springboro has decided it can't afford it. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF

The City of Springboro has decided not to pay for construction of a road in surrounding Clearcreek Twp. envisioned as part of construction of a 69-home subdivision, just south of city limits.

The yet unnamed road was seen as a way to alleviate heavy traffic flowing into Springboro High School during early morning and afternoon hours.

Conceived during discussions on the proposed development by MI Homes, it would connect Red Lion-Five Points Road and Ohio 741, eliminating reroute traffic away from a sharp curve on Red Lion-Five Points and traffic that cuts through the Heatherwoode neighborhood.

The city changed its tune after learning the road would have cost $2.7 million, according to city officials.

“M/I was told the City would not be participating financially because the road and all the potential required upgrades are too expensive,” Springboro City Manager Chris Pozzuto said in email responses.

This would create problems for the development, unless someone else stepped forward to pay for the road as proposed in the plan approved on May 28 by the Warren County Regional Planning Commission, according to Stan Williams, the commission’s executive director.

“It’s to everybody’s advantage that this gets constructed,” Assistant Warren County Engineer Kurt Weber said during the meeting approving plans for the Woodgrove residential development on 52.7 acres of the Montgomery Farm.

Previously Pozzuto said the plan was another example of cooperation between the township and city and part of efforts to ease gridlock on Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro, mainly from drivers before and after school.

ExploreSpringboro to pay for road for township housing project expected to alleviate traffic

The change came after the city’s traffic engineer, CMT, estimated the cost based on “potential ODOT requirements.”

“We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board,” Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad said last week. “I don’t know what they are going to do with the development.”

Agenbroad also said the city was being careful financially in anticipation of shortfalls related to COVID-19 effects on the local economy. Pozzuto said the city was not considering splitting the cost with MI. Clearcreek Twp. was also not involved in discussions of how to pay for it, according to Jeff Palmer, the township’s representative to the regional planning commission and director of planning and zoning.

ExploreSpringboro reviewing plans to build road needed for housing development

The city also changed its mind after residents questioned the location of the new road in the preliminary plan.

Some of the same residents opposed a plan by Oberer to build more homes on the property, rejected by the Clearcreek Twp. trustees.

On Thursday, Dan Tartabini, vice president for sales and marketing at MI, said from a sales standpoint, “We’re definitely moving forward,”

He referred questions about the road cost issue to Brad Austing, the MI official handling the project.

Austing said MI was moving forward with design, having set aside right of way for the “future road.”

“When in the future, that’s up to the city to decide,” Austing, MI’s director of land acquisitions, said. “That’s always been the arrangement. That arrangement hasn’t changed,”

Austing said MI hoped to break ground this year and begin building homes next year.

Upon building more than 50 homes, Austing said MI could need a variance to build the rest, unless the road has been built.