County OK clears path for Streamside

County OK clears path for Streamside

Batavia Village and Clermont County officials have cleared the way for Hal Homes to build Streamside, a 565-unit residential development on Herold Road. Site preparation has begun.

The village annexed the property in 2015 with the residential development already planned, but Hal Silverman, president of Hal Homes, decided that the housing market was not ready then and waited for improved conditions.

The Village of Batavia has agreed to provide municipal bonds for up to $3 million for Streamside to install streets, utilities, and a sewer pump station. Hal Homes and homeowners will repay the bonds through direct assessments on the real estate. The village will not bear any of the investment cost, but the developer and the home buyers will benefit from the lower interest rate on the municipal bonds. The bonds are not related to house purchases or mortgages and are earmarked for utilities and streets.

Batavia received state approval of its revised Community Reinvestment Area on August 8. The CRA abates property taxes on new houses for 15 years from the time them are built. Hal Homes has agreed to pay the village 50% of the value of the abated taxes to the village general fund, and that obligation will pass through to home buyers.

Other properties in the village are already eligible for the 15-year tax abatement for new construction or major improvements — improvements that would show up on the tax bill — under a 2016 ordinance establishing the Community Reinvestment Area.

Complicating the Streamside approval, in 2005 Clermont County established a Tax Increment Financing District, also known then as a Residential Incentive District, on the same land. The TIF would have diverted tax revenue to street improvements in the vicinity, including State Route 32, Herold and Bauer roads, and other local streets to be improved or added. That plan had not begun, however, and in 2014 Batavia annexed 211 acres that includes Streamside and 65 acres belonging to the Urban family, seeking to promote the development.

With no development on the property and none expected under the 2005 residential TIF, the property has been paying taxes only on the agricultural value of the land, a total of less than $5,000 annually. As the developer subdivides the land, building parcels will pay taxes at a market value likely to be $50,000 each or more, which will result in significant payments to the school district and other taxing jurisdictions. The village also will receive income taxes from new residents.

The school district receives money from the state through a complex formula based on taxable property valuation per pupil. Without the CRA abatement, the money from the state would diminish, offsetting taxes from property owners. The gain from the state because of the CRA is not exactly the amount of the abated taxes, but the effect on school finances is small. Other taxing districts do not get offsets from the state.

Streamside is planned for 265 single-family houses and 300 apartments. Together with the assessments on single-family houses, the payment in lieu of taxes on the apartments will help pay off the $3 million of infrastructure bonds.

The County Commissioners on August 14 agreed 1) to amend a 2005 letter of understanding with Batavia Township about sharing revenue from a TIF, if any revenue is available; 2) to approve a memorandum of understanding with Batavia Village in which the village agrees to maintain and make needed street improvements in the village and on or near Streamside; and 3) to rescind the 2005 TIF on Streamside.

Hal Homes has begun installing the water and sewer utilities for the development. The initial phase will be 64 building lots, which Ryan Homes is buying for development. Prices are projected to be in the range of $250,000 to $300,000.