BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Isaac Land Investments owns more than 318 acres of land surrounding The Shops at Fallen Timbers, and the majority of that land – 266 acres – is within the city of Maumee. The remainder is in Monclova Township, for now.
On June 6, Maumee City Council approved a request by Isaac Land Investments president Zac Isaac to annex 27 acres of Monclova Township property at the northeast corner of the mall into Maumee.
“Everything we have is in Maumee, except those 27 acres,” said Isaac, who plans to sell the land to a developer to build 139 one-story market-value villas. Getting the land into Maumee will make development easier than crossing jurisdictional boundaries, he said.
Not so fast, says Dawn Sanderson, legal counsel for Monclova Township. She points to a cooperative economic development agreement (CEDA) between Toledo, Maumee and the township when they formed a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) in 2003.
While Isaac’s property isn’t within those boundaries, the agreement has a clause stating that “there shall be no annexation, merger of or consolidation” of any unincorporated territory unless it is approved by the legislative bodies of all the contracting parties. Sanderson has advised Lucas County Assistant Prosecutor John Borell of the wording before the Lucas County Commissioners consider voting on the annexation. The agreement calls for a period of negotiation, during which time she believes something can be hammered out.
Isaac said he’s aware of the agreement.
“We did our research before we filed the petition. Unless the land is specifically named, it can’t be prevented from being included in Maumee,” he said. “We didn’t do this in a vacuum. We carefully evaluated it.”
The overall goal, agreed Isaac and Maumee Mayor Rich Carr, is to get more housing around the mall to support the retail project – like those in Levis Commons, Easton in Columbus or Legacy in Cleveland.
The mall has a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement that provides funding for infrastructure improvements in the area, such as streets and water lines. The financial success of the mall funds the TIF.
“It’s not just the economic aspect of the TIF. Maumee doesn’t have any land for us to expand housing. We have no senior housing developments like are all over Monclova Township,” Carr said. “We’ve had people live in Maumee for 40 or 50 years. They want a condo and to live in a senior community and get police protection. In Monclova Township, they have just one to two sheriffs (deputies).”
The property tax revenue gained by Maumee is minimal – about 3 percent, he added. For the township, the loss of that property means a loss of land, tax revenue and zoning authority, Sanderson said.
Last year, Monclova Township trustees spent nearly a year deciding whether to approve the rezoning of the only other remaining piece of Isaac-owned township land around the mall – at the northwest corner along Black Road and the Wabash Cannonball Trail. Sanderson said there are no guarantees that Isaac won’t try to annex that 28-acre portion of land as well.
Mike White and Steve Mitchell have plans to build 172 single-family homes on that land and an adjacent 85 acres that are in Maumee. Another developer has plans for building 174 single-family villas on 24 acres to the south as well.
Adding 346 housing units onto property that can only be accessed by Black Road has township trustees concerned. Until Isaac can obtain permission from Norfolk Southern to install a railroad crossing, the land slated for development so far will need to utilize Black Road.
A traffic study by the Lucas County Engineer’s Office showed a need for turn lanes and the widening of Black Road to meet the increased traffic demands from housing. Engineer Mike Pniewski suggested using a residential TIF to generate revenue to fund roadway and infrastructure improvements, including on Black Road.
All of the property, regardless of whether it is in Maumee or Monclova Township, is in the Anthony Wayne Local Schools district. That was set by the state years ago, Carr said, noting that AWLS also is the district for Arrowhead in Maumee and portions of Middleton Township in Wood County.
AWLS Superintendent Dr. Jim Fritz said that all proposed, current and existing development will be reviewed as part of a facility master plan update that is underway.
“As the available land in the district is developed, it will have an impact on the services that local municipalities and governmental agencies, including the schools, can provide to the community,” he said.
As part of the mall TIF agreement, AWLS has received tax payments each year since 2010. Last year the district received $913,000, but treasurer Kerri Johnson said that will decrease by 30 percent to about $650,000 in 2025 as payments to Penta Career Center begin.