Thursday, September 6, 2018
By JUSTIN DENNIS
Canfield City Council members on Wednesday finalized two agreements with Canfield Township trustees to ready a total 395 acres along U.S. Route 224 for commercial and residential development.
Council approved a joint economic development district agreement, or JEDD, on 115 acres near the intersection of U.S. Route 224 and South Palmyra Road in the township. Negotiations on the agreement started about a year ago, complemented by a series of public hearings.
A map of the Millennial Moments development proposed there, sketched by a Canfield developer, includes a 35,000 square-foot commercial, retail or office building; a 6,000 square-foot country club; a 3,500 square-foot club house and pool; a 120-unit community living facility; 31 townhouses with 124 residential living units; 51 lots for custom homes; and 10 open acres for later development.
Under the agreement, the city will provide water, sewer and stormwater services to the development, Canfield City Manager Wade Calhoun said. The township will retain zoning control and maintain streets. The Cardinal Joint Fire District serves both municipalities.
The city will collect income taxes in the joint district – the bulk of the total tax revenues expected there, officials said – and the township will collect property taxes.
Councilman Bruce Neff cast the only dissenting vote on the JEDD agreement, saying he’d rather wait for officials to develop their comprehensive plan, which would coordinate the organizational goals of the city, township and local schools, among others.
“We have a lot of ideas, but we don’t have any advanced plan,” he said after the meeting. “The vision isn’t our vision – it’s the developer’s vision.
“That’s why I voted no. I want to see what our vision is. Our vision is going to be taken from what the comprehensive plan says could be done with the property,” he said.
Neff said officials have considered a medical facility, office space that could be leased to a Youngstown-incubated startup or an educational campus.
The comprehensive plan is in the first of what will be several stages spanning 12 to 18 months, and could include studies on traffic, safety, utilities and future land uses, Calhoun said.
Council also approved an agreement to annex 280 acres of undeveloped farmland near the corner of U.S. Route 224 and Leffingwell Road in the township, known as Red Gate Farm, from the township.
The city purchased the property in 2003 intending to develop it, but the Great Recession stayed those plans, Mayor Richard Duffett said Wednesday. With the U.S. economy in recovery, now’s the time to build, he said.
“I’m excited about this,” he said during the meeting. “How long have we talked about Red Gate in this city and what Canfield is going to do? Well, tonight we’re going to take care of that.”
Duffett said the city can now run water and sewer lines toward Red Gate across the Millennial Moments property and a private property adjacent to the two.
Tax distributions are the same as in the JEDD agreement, said City Attorney Mark Fortunato. He added the agreement also prohibits “big box” retail locations from being developed there.
Canfield Township trustees passed both agreements at their Aug. 14 meeting.