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Published: Monday, July 22, 2019 @ 1:00 AM
Development on the border between Centerville and Sugarcreek Twp. has stretched the area water service to its limits, and a deal for a new water tower is a priority for Greene County as plans move forward for more development.
Centerville council recently gave the OK to Oberer Land Development on the next phase for the bustling Cornerstone retail and restaurant area, which is contingent on tests showing there’s adequate water pressure to serve new homes and businesses.
And Guttman Development Group has site development permits in place to build a multi-family and senior living community on the nearby Rollandia golf property, for which Guttman has a land purchase agreement.
Andrew Vecellio, Guttman business development director, said they hope to break ground this fall.
Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said the county has sufficient water supply and storage to meet current demands.
“Further building by these two developers will necessitate the construction of a water tower to supply additional storage to accommodate more users,” Huddleson said.
Greene County has made an offer to Guttman — $100,000 for one acre on the Rollandia golf course, but the parties have not agreed to terms.
“We have worked diligently with both developers to identify a site near our existing water mains and at the highest possible elevation to reduce the overall construction cost,” Huddleson said.
Vecellio acknowledged that the county has made an offer, but said Guttman “is not in a position to respond because we’re not the owner of record.”
Guttman has an option to buy the land from the owner Craig Fanning, who built the Rollandia Golf Center and the Magic Castle in the mid 1990s.
Fanning said the proposed water tower would mostly be located on the land where the Magic Castle is located. The Magic Castle area is not part of Guttman’s development plans, and Fanning said he has reached out to county commissioners with his concerns but has not received any replies.
Fanning said he will fight any attempts to build a water tower on the Magic Castle property because it would “substantially devalue the property and prohibit any future commercial development.”
“There are other viable options,” Fanning said. “They cost a little bit more, but at the end of the day, my property would be devalued and the resulting property taxes would be diminished. The county would lost money on the deal.”
Through public records requests, the Dayton Daily News has obtained a stack of emails from the city of Centerville that reveal some of the ongoing negotiations and some of the concerns of officials involved.
The need for a tower
The issue, according to a May 11, 2017 email response obtained by the Dayton Daily News from then Greene County Sanitary Engineer Ron Volkerding to then Centerville City Manager Greg Horn, is that the Cornerstone area is elevated higher than the surrounding area. The Clyo Public Water System, where Greene County buys water from Montgomery County, services the area well, except there’s a water pressure problem around the Cornerstone area because of its higher elevation.
All options to improve the water pressure are dependent upon construction of a new water tower, according to county records.
The best location for a new water tower is on the Rollandia Golf Center property west of the Kettering Tennis Center & Quail Run Racquet Club on Brown Road, according to Volkerding’s email.
The potential tower would be located near the only single-family housing planned for the Cornerstone development, and that presents aesthetic concerns, according to Horn’s initial message to Volkerding.
In 2017, a new water tower was not part of Greene County’s capital improvement plans. Funding the project could come from the county’s water district, but that would be contingent on the acre of land being donated for the purpose.
The water tower could be built at an estimated cost of $3.2 million, county officials have said, and building it would take one to two years.
In June 2018, Greene County Assistant Sanitary Engineering Director Randy Gilbert wrote to Centerville City Engineer Jim Brineger that “Oberer Development was put on notice at the start of the project that a tank site was required for the development.”
“They have obviously ignored this in their planning hoping for it to go away or be forgotten until it was too late,” Gilbert wrote. “There is still a significant amount of land available along the north side of the development to site a tank, this also happens to be the higher ground.”
In email exchanges in which the Dayton Daily News was copied Friday, Oberer told Huddleson Gilbert’s statement was not accurate.
“While Ron V. mentioned and stated several times over about four years that a site was needed, he never said we were required to provide a site. He implied that we should help to find the site,” Oberer wrote.
Oberer told Huddleson via email Friday that he has identified more options for building a water tower, which will be presented next week.
Development plans moving forward
On May 2 of this year, Centerville City Manager Wayne Davis sent a message to Huddleson asking about coordinating with Oberer on the issue.
“With the current request for further development and recent water supply issues, the city would like to discuss options with Greene County to coordinate planning efforts,” Davis wrote.
On Monday, Centerville council members approved the second to last phase of the Cornerstone development, a mix of residential and retail, but water pressure remains low in the area.
Council’s approval of Phase IV of Cornerstone includes the condition that “requires testing for adequate water pressure,” Davis said.
Davis said the plans for the development have been moving forward in light of any concerns regarding the water source issue.
Low water pressure in the area has been a concern since the Cornerstone of Centerville development began several years ago.
Mason-based HiFive Development Services completed construction last summer of the four-story, 96-room Home2 Suites by Hilton, 5321 Cornerstone Blvd.
Officials said pumps were included in the hotel’s construction to ensure adequate water pressure reached the upper floors of the hotel.
“The city is certainly monitoring discussions about ensuring appropriate water supply to Cornerstone. The city and Cornerstone Developers LLC have been pleased at the pace at which the development is progressing,” Centerville spokewoman Kate Bostdorff said.
Davis said several big item projects are on the way as part of the final phases of the development.
“Cornerstone Apartments is a 300-unit complex with modern Mediterranean architecture proposed for the intersection of Cornerstone North Boulevard and the future Park Place,” Davis said. “Some units will be next to the park with quick access to stores and restaurants. There is also a pavilion planned for the complex.”
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He added that Dogwood Commons is a proposed 110-unit complex intended for senior living. The single-story structures at the end of Cornerstone North Boulevard will come with one- or two-story garages.
Bostdorff noted that the Cornerstone Park will be an active area of the 20-acre park.
“It will complement the surrounding commercial properties, while the park’s passive section will preserve a headwater stream and include walking trails and greenspace,” she said. “The Ohio Public Works Commission recommended $1 million in Clean Ohio grant funding for the passive area of the park this week.”
Phase V of Cornerstone encompasses approximately 10 acres in the northeast corner of the development. The city of Centerville is also looking to develop Cornerstone of Centerville South, a 75-acre parcel located on the south side of I-675.