WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — An informal poll of Cuba residents shows a lot of support for a possible Dollar General store at the nearby junction of U.S. 68 and S.R. 350, according to the landowner.
Mark Ostermeier, who owns the land of the site in question, told Washington Township trustees Monday he went door-to-door in Cuba over the weekend to see how local residents feel about the store possibility. The opinion totals, he said, were 59 in favor, two opposed, and six no opinion.
Ostermeier said he told the polled residents that the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) had rejected the proposal, that there are traffic concerns, and that he owned the property.
Clinton County RPC members recently turned down a request from a developer for Dollar General to receive a waiver from regulations to build a store at the location. RPC members have cited safety concerns, with RPC Executive Director Taylor Stuckert pointing specifically to the proposed store’s access driveway being on the junction’s south ramp, making it close to two intersections.
During the township meeting Ostermeier pointed to Stuckert’s words, as published in a prior News Journal article, that described the proposal in part as “simply a request to split off land, [and] to develop it for economic value ….”
Economic value is not the only reason he’s interested in selling the land to Dollar General, Ostermeier said. He sees the store as a benefit to local people, and would spend the sale money to fix a separate Cuba property he has.
Washington Township Trustees President Randy Hibbs said he would love to see the store come to town and he feels it would benefit residents a lot, but the access driveway concerns him, he said. He asked whether there is any way to locate the driveway off the ramp.
A proposal to have the store driveway on U.S. 68 would be substantially more costly to Dollar General, said Ostermeier.
The county commissioners were present for the discussion at Washington Township Hall, as part of the commissioners’ goal to visit township and village meetings in order to open up lines of communication with the townships and villages in the county.
Neither the commissioners nor the trustees can overrule the RPC decision. There however is an appeal process whereby the RPC decision could be taken to Clinton County Common Pleas Court.
During the same board of trustees meeting, trustees approved minutes of a meeting they held earlier in May. The minutes stated the Cowan Creek Cemetery Association wants to transfer the cemetery to the township within six months. There also is money that would be transferred to the township along with the cemetery.
Two of the three remaining cemetery association members would also like to transfer the church with the cemetery, according to the minutes. But though the law requires the township to take over the cemetery, it does not require the township to take over the church, the minutes added. The township trustees do not wish to take over the church.
There are still regular burials at the cemetery.
In a general discussion with the commissioners, Washington Township Trustee Jon Sharp gave an example of the difficulty of maintaining township infrastructure. It would cost $176,000 to pave Leslie Drive (an engineer’s estimate from last year).
“That just kills our budget. You’re looking at two-and-a-half years worth of road funds just to fix that road,” said Sharp.
Furthermore, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle has killed many, many ash trees in the area and elsewhere. This year’s Washington Township budget sets aside $7,000 for removal of dead ash trees for safety’s sake — money that otherwise might well go toward roadway work, said Sharp.
Bob Stallman, manager of Miami Valley Lighting, gave a presentation to the trustees concerning the upcoming street lighting renewal agreement. The current contract will expire at the end of 2019. He told them the benefits of LED (light emitting diode) street lights, including increased visibility.
Miami Valley Lighting introduced LED street lighting in 2016, said Stallman.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.