A proposed residential construction sales office and two model homes aren’t a good fit for land in a city Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district next to Interstate 75, the Troy Planning Commission agreed unanimously last week.

Schumacher Homes of Ohio Inc. now must decide whether to pursue a rezoning needed for the proposed project with the Troy City Council.

The property was called “prime land” by Tim Davis, city planning and zoning manager. “We don’t think this would meet the property’s maximum potential,” he told the commission March 12.

Schumacher Homes, which would be new to the Troy area, asked to rezone 1.87 acres east of Towne Park Drive and next to I-75 from B-2 general business district to a planned development.

Under the company proposal, one building would be the sales and marketing office and two would be vacant model homes with full landscaping. All three buildings would face the interstate, according to the city staff report on the request.

James Hardgrove, Schumacher Homes regional representative, said the company used model centers to show their product to customers, who can select one for construction on their lot.

The property is north of Outback Steakhouse and in the city’s TIF district.

In the district, infrastructure is provided for future “upscale” development, the report said. Upscale development is defined as high-end professional offices and retail/service establishments. In addition to Outback, other businesses in the area include a Comfort Inn Suites, financial advisers and professional offices.

The staff recommended a negative recommendation for several reasons. Among them, according to the report were:

-       The proposed use of the property does not bring out the full economic potential of the property

-       Approval of the project could have a negative effect on attracting desired uses to the remaining available lots within the TIF

-       The proposal includes three model home that in the future could not become residential structures because of the zoning

-       The proposed model homes could become an advertisement for vehicles along I-75.

During the comission discussion, Mayor Mike Beamish said the location is “a pretty valuable piece of land.”

“What would that (project) do to add value? I am not seeing it,” he said.

Hardgrove said he could understand the concern about how the project would affect the community, an impact he said would be positive.

“It is underestimated the amount of traffic we bring into a community,” he said. Families travel to the sales centers from around the region where they are located, often visiting other businesses while in the area, he said.

Each sales region covers a 75-mile radius.

In addition, the building is good for the local economy because local suppliers and vendors are hired locally to build the home, Hardgrove said. Troy is a growing area, and needs more homes, he said.

Beamish asked Hargrove about its history in the area, adding, “We have a number of builders in our community developing lots, land, houses. What do you offer?”

The company would be new to the local market, but he could show successes from other markets in Ohio and beyond, Hardgrove said.

Commission member Tom Force said he was concer