LORDSTOWN — Officials for the Village of Lordstown and the Township of Jackson are considering the idea of forming a joint economic development district off Tod Avenue that includes properties in both communities.
Jackson Township trustees attended Monday’s Lordstown council meeting to hear what would be involved if the two communities decided to go ahead with forming a JDD to attract new business to the area and promote economic development.
Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said there are several parcels over 30 acres in south Lordstown and north Jackson, and developers may be interested in the southwest side of Tod Avenue.
He said the village had not had a JDD with Jackson before, but if one could be created, it would benefit both communities.
Village attorney Paul Dutton said the revised Ohio code allows for the formation of JEDD between neighboring communities to help promote economic development and income tax revenue sharing while preventing annexation.
“What’s compelling about a JEDD is helping to stave off annexation. The communities are working out a deal instead of fighting for annexation,” Dutton said.
He said that with JEDD, the village and commune would each contribute to services in the defined area such as utilities, security force protection or finance. Dutton said a JEDD company would pay taxes.
A five-member board of directors would oversee JEDD on matters such as regulations and land use. It would include a representative of the village, a representative of the commune, a representative of the JEDD traders, regardless of their number, a representative of the people who work in the JEDD and one appointed by the four others. Each person could serve for two four-year terms.
Lordstown is the only incorporated area that adjoins Jackson, as all other borders are with other townships.
Dutton said if the two communities wanted to form a JEDD, public hearings would be required before proceeding. There should also be an economic development plan for utility infrastructure and roads.
He said all residential properties, owners of undeveloped land or businesses in the JEDD area should sign a petition that they support the formation of a JEDD, with the majority of them having to give their approval to proceed. .
The JEDD would also need approval from the Ohio Department of Development.
“In 25 years, more and more companies will be in the JEDD with more income tax to share. There will also be more utility customers. Most JEDD agreements have a lifespan of 20 years or more. There would be no annexation for the life of JEDD,” Dutton said.
He said the city and township of Canfield currently have a 25-year-old JEDD, for example.
Dutton said that in addition to commercial development, there may also be residential development in a JEDD.
Hill said village officials would consider pursuing it. “It would be mutually beneficial for both communities,” he said.
Jackson Trustee President Tom Frost said the township would also consider the idea.
“We will look at this and make a decision on what is best for the people of the township. We are only at the very beginning of the discussion. We came here to gather more information on what’s on offer,” Frost said.
Dan Crouse, a local industrial realtor, said many businesses were considering properties near incorporated areas. He said ownership off Tod Avenue is 70% in Lordstown and 30% in Jackson.
He said the area off Bailey Road and Mahoning Avenue also has potential for development and growth.
“The JEDD would be one more element in the economic development of the territory. If a JEDD is formed, that would be positive for this area,” Crouse said.