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Jackson, Lordstown explore creating joint economic development district

LORDSTOWN — Officials from Lordstown village and Jackson Township are reviewing the idea of forming a joint economic development district off Tod Avenue that includes property in both communities.

Jackson Township trustees attended the Monday Lordstown Council meeting to hear what would be involved if both communities decide to move forward with forming a JEDD to attract new business to the area and promote economic development.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said there are several parcels of more than 30 acres in southern Lordstown and northern Jackson, and developers may be interested in the southwestern side off Tod Avenue.

He said the village has not had a JEDD with Jackson before, but if it can be created, it would benefit both communities.

Village Solicitor Paul Dutton said the Ohio Revised Code allows for JEDDs to be formed between neighboring communities to help promote economic development and income tax revenue sharing while preventing annexation.

“What is compelling about a JEDD is to help prohibit annexation. Communities work out an agreement in lieu of fighting over annexation,” Dutton said.

He said with the JEDD the village and township would each contribute to the defined area services such as utility services, safety force protection, or finances. Dutton said a business in the JEDD would pay taxes.

A five-member governing board of directors would oversee the JEDD for items such as land regulation and usage. It would include one representative from the village, one representative from the township, one representative for the business owners in the JEDD regardless of how many, one representative from the people who work in the JEDD and one appointed by the other four. Each person could serve for two, four-year terms.

Lordstown is the only incorporated area that abuts Jackson, as all the other borders are with other townships.

Dutton said if both communities want to form a JEDD, public hearings would be needed before proceeding. There would also need to be an economic development plan in place for utility infrastructure and roads.

He said any residential properties, owners of undeveloped land, or businesses in the JEDD area would need to sign a petition that they support forming a JEDD with a majority of them needing to give approval to proceed.

The JEDD also would need approval from the Ohio Department of Development.

“In 25 years, more and more businesses will be in the JEDD with more income tax to be shared. There will also be more utility customers. Most JEDD agreements have life spans of 20 or more years. There would be no annexation during the life of the JEDD,” Dutton said.

He said Canfield city and township currently have a 25-year JEDD, for example.

Dutton said in addition to business development there can also be residential development in a JEDD.

Hill said village officials will review the idea of proceeding. “This would be mutually beneficial to both communities,” he said.

Jackson Trustee Chairman Tom Frost said the township will also review the idea.

“We will look this over and make a decision on what is best for the residents of the township. We are in the very early stages of discussing this. We came here to gather more information on what is being proposed,” Frost said.

Dan Crouse, a local industrial real estate agent, said many businesses are looking at properties near incorporated areas. He said the property off Tod Avenue has 70 percent in Lordstown and 30 percent in Jackson.

He said the area off Bailey Road and Mahoning Avenue also has potential for development and growth.

“The JEDD would be one more part of the economic development for the area. If a JEDD is formed it would be a positive for this area,” Crouse said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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