By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council have taken the first step towards rezoning an approximately 5-acre section of land off of State Route 571 for residential use.
Council members heard the first reading of an ordinance to rezone the parcel of land, which is located near the main entrance to Stone Meadows off of State Route 571, during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 12.
“That’s the land in question,” municipal manager Matt Kline said. “It’s that big field, which is approximately 5 acres.”
The field includes several lots, which will be changed from B-3 neighborhood business district to R-1A, single-family residential if the ordinance is passed. Under a plan approved by the village planning board, the land could then be split into lots for as many as nine different new homes.
Several residents attended the meeting, voicing their opposition to the rezoning plan. “We just feel that that doesn’t fit in with the make-up of our subdivision, or the aesthetics of our subdivision by putting nine houses on that piece of land,” resident (and former village council member) Scott Fogle said. “We’re just concerned as neighbors. I agree with changing it to residential, I just don’t agree with nine housing lots being put into that acreage for that subdivision.”
“I’m very concerned because there is a drainage ditch,” Fogle said. “I’m really concerned that if there are nine lots back there, nine homes back there, and the amount of drainage that would be draining behind our properties and ultimately end up on my property, from nine different residences that would possibly be there.”
Council members heard the ordinance’s first reading; a second reading and a public hearing will also be held before council votes on the proposed changes. “I think we should talk about this more seriously at our next council meeting, before we have a vote,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “I would like to invite everybody back for the public hearing.”
“We only did the first reading tonight,” Kline said. “This is just to start the process. The only thing that has been approved by the planning board is a concept. I’ve had discussions with their engineers, and there’s some difficulty when it comes to storm sewers, so I’m not sure that the concept is even feasible.”
“If we’re still in this situation that we are in today in June, we won’t have a public hearing; we’ll wait until it has been opened up,” he said. “But everybody will be getting a letter once we know when the second reading is going to happen.”
In other business, council members also voted to approve a resolution to proceed under an alternative tax document for fiscal year 2021, and heard updates on both the Ludlow Falls sewer project and the Stillwater Crossings Development.
“We have put out the advertisement for the Ludlow Falls sewer project,” Kline said. “All of the financing has now been put in place; we will be advertising it throughout the month of May, and then we’re going to get busy in June. We will be opening the bids on June 4.”
Council plans to award the contract at their June 9 meeting. “We are anticipating an engineer’s estimate of $2.7 million,” Kline said. “We have financing put into place for just over $3 million.”
“The development has been coming along very well,” Kline said of Stillwater Crossings. “Water lines, storm sewer lines and catch basins are all starting to take shape. As of right now, things are progressing as expected; we are still hoping for pavement down and the first homes to be built by September.”
“Things are progressing,” he said.
The village will still have to provide water for the new development, including a new booster station and repairs to a leaky 550-foot water line crossing the river. “There is technology where we can re-line the water line,” Kline said. “It’s a perfect water line to re-line; there’s no taps, there’s no cuts, it’s just one straight pipe.”
The re-lining will take approximately two to three days, and will cost approximately $150,000. Once completed, the re-lined pipe should last at least 50 years. The work will be paid for through a 20-year Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) loan, to be repaid at the rate of $8,500 per year.
Council members also heard updates on the village’s waste management services, and the upcoming re-opening of city hall. “Starting next week, waste management will go back to their regular service, including bulk pick-up and anything outside the can,” Kline said. “They’re just going back to normal.”
City Hall will begin a soft re-opening soon, starting with reduced hours from approximately 10am to 3pm. New social distancing measures will be in effect, with a maximum of two residents permitted in the building at one time. City officials will wear face masks, and anyone entering the building is asked to also wear some type of face mask or covering.
“We’ll be asking for no more than two people in the lobby at any one time,” Kline said. “We will be wearing face masks, out of respect for any of our customers who come in, and we ask for the same respect from those who come in, so please wear face masks.”
“There will be about a week where we’ll have it open from probably 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” he said. “I’m hoping that once we have that soft opening, we’ll be able to go back to regular hours soon thereafter.”
Village council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26.