Thursday, January 18, 2001

Lebanon to discuss land purchase

City would pay $1.5M for 130 acres near industrial park

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether to buy 130 acres near its industrial park for almost $1.5 million.

        Legislation introduced at a special council meeting Wednesday night would do just that, although even Councilman Mark Flick, who sponsored the ordinance, is un decided.

        “I wanted it at least talked about to force the issue,” Mr. Flick said.

        The land, on Ohio 741 just south of the city, would be used for city wells and to attract more businesses. About 90 percent of it is in a floodplain, Mr. Flick said, though that would not necessarily halt development because elevations could be raised.

        The city also could cut a road through the land to its 140-acre Columbia Business Park, which is mostly unoccupied.

        Lebanon would pay Mason businessman Jack Flaherty $1,495,000 for the property under the ordinance introduced Wednesday. He paid $500 for an option to buy the land for $800,000, City Attorney Mark Yurick said.

        An appraisal obtained by the city estimated the land to be worth $770,000, and since a controversy over city purchase prices in 1999 several council members have said they can't justify paying much more than a property's appraised value.

        However, Mr. Yurick said special uses such as well fields could make a property worth more than the appraised value.

        The city set aside money for the purchase in its 2001 budget, Mr. Flick said, because a Fortune 100 company was looking for a large parcel for a potential move to Lebanon.

        It appears the company is no longer interested, he said, but the land still could be a valuable water source.

        “We've been concerned about the long haul with water,” Mr. Flick said. “If you don't plan it now, you won't get it later.”


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