FAIRBORN — Fairborn officials will continue their partnership with the largest land owner adjacent to the city to take advantage of future potential development opportunities.
City council approved a resolution last week authorizing an annexation agreement with CEMEX that will allow them to consolidate their operations into Fairborn, where they already own nearly 500 acres.
“It’s really not a commitment to actually enter into any annexation,” said City Manager Debbie McDonnell. “It just says that, as a company, if CEMEX wants to move forward and they want to do annexation, this is exactly how they would move forward.”
Southwestern Portland Cement has been a significant employer in the region for more than 90 years. Their plant, which was previously located in downtown Fairborn, was moved to Xenia Township for expansion. The CEMEX plant produces a cement product that is a basic binding ingredient for ready mix concrete and other products that are used virtually in every construction, road and building project. They currently have more than 100 employees at the plant, many of which live in Fairborn.
According to McDonnell, the company desires to obtain services from Fairborn for the CEMEX property to ensure the company’s continued existence in southwestern Ohio.
“Without this agreement it is likely that CEMEX will cease operation in a relatively short period of time thus leaving the State of Ohio all-together,” she said.
Historically, as CEMEX is finished with a piece of land they allow it to be redeveloped for uses such as park lands, baseball/football fields, housing development, commercial activity, and the Land Lab used by the Fairborn schools.
“We have a history of working with that company for the betterment of the city,” McDonnell said. “This agreement really is just intended to continue that partnership…we see the development opportunities that we could work with them on for properties that they no longer need.”
The city manager explained the income and property tax advantage to annexing CEMEX properties into the city.
“If more people are paying a tax bill then everyone’s tax bill is less because the amount that the city requires or asks our taxpayers to contribute in property tax is a fixed amount, so the more people that pay that bill the less it is for them,” said McDonnell.
The annexation agreement is specific as to how the city and CEMEX would move forward should CEMEX choose to exercise their right. Two parcels adjacent to Trebein Road would be the first annexations. The first 200-acre property is adjacent to the Cornerstone neighborhood and would serve as a “buffer zone” for those residents. The second annexation would be the remainder of that tract of land.
“Once those annexations are in place they would move forward with us on any properties that they are deeming to be excess that we could then begin to plan accordingly on what we would like to see there to help our city grow, such as additional recreational areas or housing areas,” said McDonnell. “We see a lot of opportunities to have higher end estate type homes which is a product that we don’t have right now.”
As part of this development agreement, CEMEX has agreed to clean up their North Annex property on Spangler Road.
“There are some dilapidated pieces there that make it look a little blighted, and as you know, that’s an area that we’re looking to expand for economic development,” McDonnell said.