Kalahari could soon have a neighbor.
Local developer John Hoty is asking Erie County to help him develop 30 acres of property on the west side of U.S. 250, across the highway from the Kalahari Waterpark Resort.
Hoty, who said he had to turn down two offers from restaurants because he couldn’t move quickly enough, says a tax increment financing deal would help him develop the land and generate new property taxes for local schools and governments.
Hoty Enterprises bought the land in 2005.
Hoty, the president of the company, wrote to the Erie Regional Planning Commission on March 25, explaining that he’s been working for two years with the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA to resolve site issues.
A TIF deal would help cover the cost of roads and utilities and move the proposed development forward, Hoty wrote.
Hoty sent copies of the letter to Erie County’s commissioners and asked for “prompt consideration.”
On Tuesday, Alex MacNicol, director of the Erie Regional Planning Commission, phoned Hoty and agreed to set up a meeting. It will probably be next week.
Tax increment financing is an economic development tool commonly used throughout the U.S.
Typically, a portion of the additional property taxes generated by turning a farm field into a commercial development is dedicated to help cover the cost of government infrastructure such as roads, water lines and sewers.
Late last year, the county commissioners OK’d TIF agreements for the planned Lakecrest Town Center shopping center at U.S. 250 and Strub, for the new Maui Sands waterpark on U.S. 250 near Ohio 2, and for a new medical center at Strub Road and Ohio 4.
MacNicol said he’s pleased Hoty’s preliminary plans call for roads that would connect his development to properties that are both north and south of the property. The Ohio Department of Transportation is trying to speed traffic flow along U.S. 250 by limiting access from 250 to property along the highway.
Hoty said he currently pays $1,500 a year in property taxes for the land. The day development begins, that would go up to $20,000 a year for commercial property, he said.
A TIF would allow development to go forward soon, producing additional property taxes right away, he said.
“If I don’t do anything for five years, they are going to collect $1,500 a year,” Hoty said.