Among a sizable list of agenda items Monday night, Saline City Council trustees unanimously approved a 425 agreement with Pittsfield Township, carrying forward an annexation process initiated in 1981 that will make ready 72 acres of farm land for residential development.
The 425 agreement process did not exist until 1984, and effectively results in annexation, but allows municipalities to share tax revenues with terms as agreed to by both parties.
The property in question lies on Maple Road, straddling both east and west sides of the roadway just north of Maplewood Drive.
City Manager Todd Campbell explained the parameters of the deal.
“This is a joint petition of the Layher family and Grand Sakwa to annex 72 acres into the corporate limits of the City of Saline from Pittsfield Charter Township for residential development,” Campbell said, citing the original agreement as well, which includes language for automatic annexation of certain areas. “This property, this 72 acres, is within that automatic annexation, so typically it’s just been, in the past, a formality of some forms and some motions by both municipalities.”
Pittsfield Township trustees requested a 425 agreement however, yet the potential for tax sharing on their part goes away as soon as homes are built, according to Campbell.
Trustee Christen Mitchell said she is looking forward to the new variety of housing options the development will likely bring to the city.
“I too am excited to see these homes come into town,” she said, citing conversation with constituents in which they have mentioned adult children wanting to return to the city. “There are different levels of housing that they are interested in. And so it’s early stages but I think it’s good to look at what we offer for our families and make sure that we do have a wide range of stock and prices.”
Mayor Brian Marl mirrored the enthusiasm expressed by council members and said he thinks the city has chosen robust and experienced development partners.
“Attorney Smith put in a lot of hours on this and we appreciate his work. I also appreciate how genuinely interested Grand Sakwa and Nick Donofrio are in the Saline community,” he said. “We look forward to working with you and working through the normal planning and zoning process. Grand Sakwa has a tremendous reputation and I think the products that you create and build will be an asset to the community.”
Though it has been several decades in the making, Marl said the proposed development is exactly the kind of expansion he likes to see.
“As was stated, the die was cast for these parcels to be brought into the city nearly 40 years ago and I think that this initiative gels very nicely with the notion of smart growth, which I’ve talked about on numerous occasions,” he said. “We’ve planned for this, we’ve anticipated it and tonight the stars really aligned because I think we’re going to work with a developer who will help us grow and diversify our housing stock and provide residents with really quality products.”
Marl said he is ready to do his part to keep the ball rolling on this project.
“So, I’m very excited that this has come to fruition,” he said. “We’ve got a long way to go but we’re moving in the right direction.”