Citizens challenge zoning issues in Groveport

By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Two zoning issues raised residents’ concerns, which lead Groveport City Council to reject one of the proposals and to postpone the other for further review.

Citizens filled the chambers at council’s Sept. 24 meeting to express their thoughts on the zoning requests and the development proposals connected to those issues.

Hendron Road proposal

Council rejected, by a 4-0 vote (two council members were absent from the meeting), legislation amending the zoning from rural to select commercial planned district on about six acres located on the east side of Hendron Road south of the railroad and near the intersection of Hendron Road and Cherry Blossom Drive.

According to the zoning amendment paperwork, the applicant, Philip Salyers, owns a security installation business in Obetz with 15 employees. He sought to rezone the property on Hendron Road to build an office with warehouse facilities as well as potentially build and rent self-storage units at the back of the property. One of the property’s owners, Elissa Villiers, spoke in favor of Salyers’ plan citing that the property has sat empty for several years and that, “I like what he wants to do.”

Groveport Building Official Stephen Moore said, had council approved the zoning request, Salyers would have then had two years to submit a development plan for the property, and, if he did not, the property would revert back to rural zoning.

“Nothing could happen on this property until a development plan was submitted,” said Moore. “The development plan would also had to have been approved before the turn of the first shovel of dirt.”

Residents from the nearby Orchard housing subdivision opposed the plan, including Dawn Bellamy, who said there are enough self storage units in town already. She also had concerns about potential increased traffic. She said that, with the nearby homes, schools, and senior housing, Salyers’ proposal was “not a good fit for that piece of land.”

Orchard resident Diane Barnes said it is important the city maintain the integrity of the 58 homes in the Orchard neighborhood. She also expressed concerns about potential crime related to self storage units and that the area already has many commercial properties north of the railroad. She implored council to, “Please hear us.”

The four council members present at the meeting were concerned that there was not a development plan already in place for the property and so they rejected the zoning ordinance with Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert stating, “I can’t vote for something that I don’t know what will be there for certain.”

Williams Road proposal
Council postponed until its Oct. 9 meeting a request for a permitted use variance for property located at 4241 Williams Road, which is currently zoned planned industrial park. The postponement allows the parties involved to present amendments to the plan to help ease neighbors’ concerns.

According to a report by Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst and the variance request paperwork, the applicant wished to convert the existing warehouse on the site into a service and repair facility and use the property for truck mechanical service, parts storage and distribution, and fleet vehicle sales.

Some residents from the nearby Three Rivers subdivision (which is in the city of Columbus) opposed the zoning variance.

“I’m concerned about the noise, increased lighting, more truck traffic, and fumes plus the potential for more accidents on Williams Road,” said resident Kelly Charters.

Resident Bonnie Draudt said the plan could increase congestion on Williams Road.

Attorney Jeffrey Brown, representing the applicant, Acquire Inc., said the property has a buffer of mounding and trees. He said the business is not a 24 hour a day operation. He added that part of the plan is to adjust a road and driveway connection to help alleviate traffic on Williams Road.

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