Granville Council will purchase land from a developer to preserve, more
Granville council has agreed to the purchase of multi-million dollar land at its eastern end, previously launched for a controversial mixed-use development.
Much of the property is also considered a site of historical significance.
See also: Impact of Coronavirus: Granville Council Postpones Further Discussions on Land Purchase at Eaton Woods
The lifting of COVID clouds, Granville is organizing a public hearing on August 4 on a possible major land purchase
Following a public hearing on August 4 which unanimously found residents and adjacent landowners urging the purchase, the village council approved the deal for the “Eaton Woods property,” which was valued by two different companies for a value of $ 3,250,000.
Under the terms of the deal, the contract price will be $ 3.25 million, but the property owner and once potential developer, Southgate Corporation, will donate $ 500,000 for the development of the “nature reserve. and Munson Springs Historic Site â.
Granville will make an upfront payment of the balance to Southgate of $ 750,000. The remaining $ 2 million is to be paid to Southgate in four annual installments, secured by a note and / or mortgage.
The purchase of the land was approved by a 6-0 council vote; Member Matt McGowan was not present at the meeting.
The Council also agreed to impose a 24-month limit on itself to formulate and adopt a plan for any portion of land not allocated to the concept of reserve and rather for future sale or commercial development.
The deal is also structured to allow time for Granville to continue to seek grants, partnerships or other means to help offset the costs of purchasing the land.
Some questions about the possibility of approaching the Township of Granville for the use of the Open Space funds were raised at the August 4 meeting, and it was confirmed by the village administrator Herb Koehler that a discussion with the Granville administrators ensued, but it was also noted that the use of Open Space funds would by nature limit possible improvements to the site, including such things as walking trails or kiosks for the reserve portion. envisioned from the field.
Granville resident Jurgen Pape spoke of Granville’s past commitments to protecting key properties in order to maintain Granville’s character, including the purchase some 15 years ago of Bryn Du Mansion, which he said â has become a regional asset “and one of the things” that makes Granville, Granville.
Local resident, pastor and historian Jeff Gill, who has written recent articles on the historical legacy of the Munson Springs site, passionately reiterated these points to Granville Council. âTo preserve Munson Springs,â said Gill, âI think it’s a blessing to our community.â
Others, some of whom are or soon will be owned and whose properties abut the Eaton Woods property, have raised concerns about what would happen if another bought the land and put forward a new development concept, may -be denser than the one that had planned for Eaton Woods.
These concerns were shared by council members and Mayor Melissa Hartfield, who pointed to a recent traffic survey that showed Eaton Woods and other potential residential and commercial development projects could trigger the need for a seven roundabouts between the east line of the corporation and the city center along Chemin Newark-Granville.
Hartfield described a scenario for such infrastructure improvements that would result in costs greater than the purchase price of Eaton Woods due to the purchase of rights-of-way or easements, the removal of landscape and trees, and the actual cost of each roundabout.
Hartfield said Director Koehler spoke to Newark about its recent roundabout costs and found that each roundabout totaled around $ 850,000 – a figure collected over a year ago when materials and other costs were cheaper, before COVID.
Hartfield shared concerns about the density of development, the loss of historic treasures and “what kind of degradation could possibly happen to this corridor.”
The mayor said, âJust the math of that, the future cost to Granville, is why I support this. “
Other board members shared this view. They said they viewed this land purchase as the most economical prospect against much higher future costs arising from development impacts.
âI can tell a Granville resident, this is what makes financial sense for us to do this,â Hartfield said.
Council member Rob Montgomery argued that Granville is “where it is now because of good planning in the past … Not to continue on this momentum would be unfortunate given all the efforts of the past.”
Deputy Mayor Jeremy Johnson has stressed, like others, that the current ordinance passed by council is not “set in stone”, as has been said, and could undergo further adjustments, in particularly if a historical survey of the site is suggested with ground penetrating radar tests and other means going forward.
In the interest of transparency, Johnson said, and the potential for board member change over the next 24 months, “unless we change it, there will be a plan for some development … of this property. “. Johnson urged residents and adjacent landowners to “watch out for this.”
Johnson added: “We have to be judicious in any development, and he has to be sensitive to the storyâ¦ but it’s a lot of money to spendâ¦ I’m in favor of that, but you have to be careful that we let’s say we’re going to do in the end, because that’s what’s going to matter. It might be a different board sitting here when that decision is finally made. “
He also pointed out that it wouldn’t take a majority but an affirmative vote of the five-member council to ultimately dispose of one of the assets and Johnson observed that getting such a vote may turn out to be less. than an “easy lift”.