By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport plans to purchase the property located at 490 Main St., which currently is the home of a used car lot.
On April 9, Groveport City Council approved contracting to buy the .492 acre property for $250,000 from Kenneth E. Stebelton.
Stebe’s Sales Inc., is the used car business that has operated on the site for many years.
“This is a primary property in the city’s downtown,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall. “This will allow the city to control the site’s future use.”
She said once the city knew the site was available, officials pursued the purchase.
When asked how the city plans to develop the site, Hall said, “Since there is no immediate development plan for the property, the city, for now, plans to use the space as greenspace.”
Councilman Ed Dildine said the city’s Community Investment Corporation is conducting a market study and analysis of areas in Groveport and this study will include the 490 Main St. property.
Dildine said owning the property gives the city “control over downtown redevelopment.”
“It’s just a prime opportunity,” said Dildine.
Hall said from time to time city officials have received complaints from residents about the site, primarily about inoperable vehicles parked there.
But Dildine added, “We did not buy the property in response to citizens’ complaints.”
According to the Franklin County Auditor’s website, the property, which includes a small, 324 square foot building, has a market value of $120,000.
“We’re aware of what the auditor’s website indicates,” said Hall, who said that, in the open real estate market, values tend to be higher than what is reflected on the county’s website.
This used car lot at 490 Main St. is not the only one on Groveport’s Main Street. On the southeast corner of Main and Center streets there is a vacant former used car lot. When asked if the city is also interested in purchasing that property somewhere down the road, Hall said, “Not at this time. The zoning for that location has reverted to its previous zoning (community commercial) since it has not been used as a car lot, which is a non-conforming use, for more than two years.”
That means that property cannot be a used car lot again unless it receives city approval.