By Karen Vance
LOVELAND - The historic White Pillars property will be purchased by a private development team after city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to sell the property for $3.4 million.
Hines-Griffen Joint Venture and Parrott Strawser plan to build 85 single-family houses valued at $450,000 each and 70 townhouses valued at $225,000 each. The property would also include a 16-acre commercial development along Ohio 48.
The city will use $2.3 million of the money to retire debt from the 1996 purchase of the property. The city had planned to attract businesses to the area.
The city will retain ownership of the colonial-style homestead, the home of Col. Thomas Paxton, who laid out Loveland, and 10 surrounding acres.
About 20 Loveland and Miami Township residents who have formed Voice of the Electorate (VOTE) attended the meeting in opposition to the city's contract.
Seven residents spoke in opposition to the project.
"My dream and the dream of a lot of people in town is to give this property to our children," said David Miller, a Loveland resident and a member of VOTE. "Can't we do better than put some houses and some commercial use up there?"
Members of VOTE are concerned that all of the property will be used for commercial development because the contract allows the developer to explore that option if attempts to secure a commercial developer fail for three years.
Councilman Brad Greenberg said he was sympathetic to opponents, but said he felt the project is in the best interest of improving the city's tax base.
"I'm sure many people would prefer to live near rolling farmland, but we have to act in the best interest of all of Loveland, not just the people who live near it (White Pillars)."
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