Note: This story appears in the Friday, Jan. 11 newspaper on Page A1.

Recipe of the Day

A large tract of land near The Plains is being promoted on the internet as the potential site of a mixed-use residential and retail development.

The land, recently clear-cut of trees, was purchased last spring from the Cottingham Real Estate Trust by a company called NML Gallia LLC, which is affiliated with Athens businessman Harold Laughlin. The site is across Route 33 from Athens High School and borders River Road.

The Messenger could not reach Laughlin on Thursday for comment.

A website,, in general terms describes a "298 Acre Athens Route 33 Development Project" and lists the telephone number of Laughlin Music & Vending in Athens.

Laughlin and Doug Brooks of Laughlin Vending attended a recent meeting where they mentioned the website and the mixed use development, according to two people at the meeting.

Although The Messenger was able to reach Brooks on Thursday, he referred all questions to Laughlin.

The website touts the potential for 250-500 new jobs, and lists "major anchors" for the development as senior housing, assisted living and "retail and new housing development."  The senior house and assisted living are listed as "pending" and the retail/housing development as "in process."

It appears that nearest source of water and sewer service for the site would be Athens County Water and Sewer District, which serves The Plains. District Supt. Rich Kasler said he has not been contacted by anyone regarding the district potentially serving the property.

It's unclear from the website whether a housing subdivision is being proposed. The site is within three miles of Athens, and the city has subdivision planning jurisdiction within the three mile area. Athens Code Director

have subdivision planning jurisdiction within the three mile area adjacent to their respective corporation lines.

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