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Dover residents confront developer over flooding concerns

| July 19, 2023
Jill Lengler, recently retired Tuscarawas County flood plain coordinator and regional planning director, talks to Bill Gibson, representing Lawver Homes at a public hearing in Dover Monday.

DOVER (WJER) (July 19, 2023) – The developer wanting to build 30 homes on the city’s north side appears to have a lot of work to do to convince surrounding residents the project won’t flood their neighborhoods.

At a public hearing Monday, Bill Gibson with Lawver Homes explained how the proposed Crimson Cove subdivision plans to address stormwater runoff at the 14-acre site off East Ohio Avenue in the northeast corner of the city.

“It’s a concern to us, too. We don’t want to cause a flooding problem for anyone, certainly not our neighbors in the city of Dover,” Gibson said.

At a previous Council meeting, Construction Manager Jarod Lawver said he thinks the development will improve stormwater drainage from the site.

“I really think once we get streets and actually storm drains and a retention pond that’s engineered to actually control the water that runs off that, I would say we’re going to send less water into that creek [Goettge Run] than what’s currently being sent there,” Lawver said.

Residents who spoke at Monday’s public hearing and a July 3 Council meeting did not sound convinced.

Residents comments from July 3 and 17
  • “Goettge Run does not need one more teaspoon of water.”
  • “All that runoffs going to come into Goettge Run even if you got a retention pond.”
  • “It’s just going to eat away until my house falls in, my back garage falls in.”
  • “Now you want to put more water down on us all. This is ridiculous.”
  • “And you’re building it to current FEMA standards. They’re not very accurate anymore.”
  • “Where’s that water going to run? It’s not going to a retention pond. Is that going to come down on my property?”
  • “Is Lawver Homes going to be totally financially responsible to me for any damage I occur if there is a flood?”

Gibson told residents the developer is “aiming for no water incursion as a result of our development,” but was interrupted by Joseph Huffman, who owned multiple properties on West 14th Street and at a previous meeting threatened litigation.

“That’s not going to happen,” Huffman said. “If you think that, you’re thinking wrong.”

TIF Public hearing

Monday’s hearing was about a proposed Tax Increment Financing arrangement. Under the TIF arrangement, instead of all the new property taxes going to schools, city, and other local entities, 75 percent of that money will go to the city to pay for new roads, sewers, utilities, and other improvements.

Mayor Shane Gunnoe says that arrangement would likely last for about eight years. For those eight years, Dover schools would receive about $32,000 a year in new property tax revenue. After, the district would receive $128,000 a year.

City Council could vote on the TIF Aug. 21.

Gunnoe says it’s early in the process and the developer still must go through several rounds of approvals and public hearings before construction can begin.

Gunnoe says city officials plan to hire their own independent experts to make sure the developers are addressing stormwater concerns.

“Certainly, that would be the intention of us retaining outside expertise,” Gunnoe said, “but again, we’re still at the step one conceptual plan. There’s been no final plat. There’s been no engineering on it. We’re still substantially a ways away from that.”

Crimson Cove

The proposed Crimson Cove development is off East Ohio Avenue past Aspen Woods and at the corporation limit. Gibson on Monday said the 30 homes would be 1,500-square-feet and up for single story homes, and 1,800-feet and up for two-story homes. They would be priced starting at $350,000.

Gibson says there are already 26 people on a waiting list for the new homes. Lawver representatives have said if they get all the necessary approvals, they could break ground in the spring.

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