The Mayor of Ohio’s small Delaware County Village of Galena will face challenger Jill Love this fall after the longtime incumbent shut down opposition to an ambitious expansion plan involving the annexation and development of the Blackhawk Golf Club that could more-than-double the size of the current population of 723.
Tristan Navera at The Business Journals tweeted, “Galena, Ohio – a Delaware County village of 723 people – could see a 1,085-home development.” His post did not include the proposed multifamily and commercial projects that have been mentioned.
Galena, Ohio – a Delaware County village of 723 people – could see a 1,085-home development: https://t.co/fLTtcLjYHW
— Tristan Navera (@TNaveraBiz1st) August 30, 2019
NBC4 was on hand to film the raucous event. Resident Noah Hostetler told the reporter, “They wanted to be able to get this in so they could get this approved by September 23 so that Champion could fast track getting this development done with the community fully against it.”
The “special meeting” was called to advance an ordinance approving land for a multi-use trail that Village Solicitor Ken Molnar said needed to be expedited in order to save money. It was the only item on the agenda, but the two ordinances for the residential and commercial development project were quickly given a second reading, no discussion allowed. The entire meeting lasted fifteen minutes. A final vote is now likely to occur on the Council’s official meeting night the fourth Monday of the month.
Mayor Hopper declined to give a comment to NBC4, but resident Noah Hostetler had words to share with The Ohio Star:
The council has not received any development plans and yet they are voting on it. They are also voting on passing this without having any financial information. Hopper has publicly stated it will involve multiple TIFs, which means no money for our schools.
The Ohio Development Services Agency writes in order to have “Tax increment Financing” (TIF) a township, county or municipality must, among other things, “…enact legislation that (a) designates the parcel(s) to be exempted from taxation…”
“We believe the zoning will be 80 to 90% commercial which will include apartments,” Hostetler continued. “Because of the emergency vote they held at the special meeting, there is a potential for them to vote the development through without knowing the financial ramifications. The special meeting reading moved the entire process up by a month.”
His neighbor Chris Durrence added, “We residents want responsible growth and someone to come in and blend in with our Master Plan and not a developer to come in and design our Master plan for us, based on what they have to sell and make the most money on.”
The Champion Companies is a “market-leading multi-family investment, development and management firm,” according to their website. The owners are siblings Brian and Michelle Yeager. Brian has a Galena address but does not live in the village.
Blackhawk Golf Club is not currently within Galena village and its zoning laws would not have permitted the planned development. The zoning committee recommended changes in August to allow the development to proceed, presuming the annexation passes, which is one of the ordinances that had a second hearing at the special meeting this week.
The Village of Galena mayoral election is November 5.
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