Milton annexes 181 acres into business park

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Neil Johnson
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

MILTON–The Milton City Council on Tuesday OK'd a land deal to purchase 23 acres for $600,000 and annex 158 more acres of privately-held land to expand the city's business park along the future Highway 26/59 corridor.

The council unanimously approved annexing three parcels of land:

--A 151-acre farm property owned by Belardi Family Investments that runs along County M from High Street south to Milton-Harmony Townline Road.

--An 8-acre farm parcel owned by Hull Farms that sits south of East High Street.

--A 23-acre farm parcel, also owned by Hull Farms, that is east of the Penn Color plant on Putman Parkway. The city plans to buy that parcel for $600,000, Milton City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said Tuesday.

City officials said the deal will nearly double the size of the city's business park and will create more options for industrial and commercial development along Highway 59 and the Highway 26 bypass. The bypass is slated to open to traffic next week.

The land, which is located in the town of Milton, will transfer to the taxing jurisdiction of the city and will be incorporated into the city's Crossroads business park, which is located in a tax increment financing district.

TIF districts in business parks use trapped property tax revenue to pay for infrastructure improvements to land and for incentives to commercial developers.

Milton Mayor Brett Frazier said the timing of the deal is significant because it comes as residents speculate about the city's future in the face of the bypass, which will reroute thousands of vehicles east around the city.

“People have asked us, 'What are you going to do when that bypass opens, and everything is traveling east around the city?' Well, with this annexation, the bypass now goes through part of the city," Frazier said.

Part of the city's existing business park already blankets the junction of the Highway 26 bypass and Highway 59. Tuesday's annexation tacks on acres of land further east, expanding the city's backyard TIF district further. Potentially it could create more incentive for developments ranging from light industrial plants to retail outlets, Schuetz and Frazier said.

Schuetz said the city already has had several inquiries from developers interested in building along the Highway 26/59 interchange.

The city already has a handful of light industries in the business park, much of which is ready to be developed. The city is actively marketing the corridor of Highway 26 and 59 as a key location for potential restaurants, a potential hotel and other commercial uses, Schuetz said.

The annexation will create larger parcels and more area for the city to market to developers, Schuetz said.

The land deal has been in the works since earlier this year when owners of the parcels petitioned for annexation. The annexation already has approval from the state Department of Administration, according to city records.

The city plans to buy the 23-acre Hull property using tax increment money, Schuetz said. The TIF district in which the newly annexed land is located, Milton TID 6, generates about $750,000 in tax increment money a year, according to city records.  

Officials said the entire 151-acre Belardi property and the 10-acre Hull parcel will remain privately owned, but will become part of the business park.

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