July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Lafayette Twp., Medina team up to develop area

Lafayette Township trustees and Medina City Council members are moving ahead with an agreement that they hope will encourage development around the University of Akron’s Medina County University Center.

Under the proposed Joint Economic Development District agreement, the employees of businesses in Lafayette Township that agree to participate would pay Medina’s 1.25 percent income tax, and the money generated would be split 50/50 between the city and the township.

An agreement between Lafayette Township trustees and Medina City Council members’ would seek increased development in the area surrounding the University of Akron’s Medina County University Center, 6300 Technology Lane, Lafayette Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Under Ohio law, townships cannot collect income taxes, and creating a Joint Economic Development District allows them to do so.

“There’s no downside to doing it, because it’s at the property owners’ call,” Lafayette Township Trustee Lynda Bowers said.

Trustees and City Council met Monday to discuss a JEDD that would cover Innovation Park — about 60 acres between the Medina County University Center and state Route 162 in Lafayette Township.

The land is owned by the Medina County Port Authority, an economic development group.

The Joint Economic Development District agreement would be similar to one that exists in Montville Township.

The Montville agreement generates about $10,000 a month in revenue for both the city and township, Medina Council President John Coyne said.

The city also would not be able to annex residential areas of the township without approval from township trustees, according to the agreement.

Up to 20 percent of the revenue generated by income taxes would go into a maintenance fund that would be spent on infrastructure improvements for potential businesses, such as landscaping or sidewalk improvements that they would otherwise have to cover.

The district also could include the University Center, if the University of Akron agrees, along with the Medina Country Club plus land set aside for the Chippewa Landing project — a hotel and conference center that was planned but never built, Bowers said.

Lafayette Township already has a Community Reinvestment Area covering the land, which allows for 50 percent abatement on property taxes for up to 15 years for construction of new commercial or industrial facilities.

The agreement still must be looked over by attorneys and approved by Lafayette Township trustees and Council, which Coyne said likely would be accomplished by the end of October.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.