By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester City Council continues to discuss the potential for annexation and development of land owned by the Schacht family.
The 70-plus acres is located to the south of Bixby Road, north of Rager Road and U.S. Route 33. An adjacent parcel is zoned limited manufacturing and property to the north is zoned rural. The Schacht family is asking to rezone the parcel to limited manufacturing.
Northpoint Development is proposing to build one 540,000 square-foot building and another 525,000 square-foot building with a $72.3 million capital investment on the land.
Until a future interchange is built at U.S. 33 and Bixby Road, exit out of the property is right-turn only.
The company is offering to donate land to the Ohio Department of Transportation or the city to help facilitate the interchange. Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said the donation could help speed up construction of the interchange and move the project up on a priority list from the mid-2030s where it now stands.
Canal Winchester City Councilman Bob Clark said Columbus is creating a Community Reinvestment Area on neighboring land with the possibility of high density apartments.
“We don’t have the luxury to wait to annex this land,” said Clark. “Columbus is serious. They have shown what they want. They want high density housing and they’re not going to be shy about approving this. If you want that, then deny this tonight. If you don’t, then you’ll support this annexation.”
Councilwoman Jill Amos felt a lot of development is being compressed into the area, regardless of if it is warehousing or apartments, and wants a better solution designed and quickly.
Resident Carla Dolan expressed concern about students crossing the bridge above U.S. 33 to get to school and said, with more warehouses spilling more traffic onto Gender Road, it presents a safety issue for children.
“How are they going to feel about crossing in front of semi-trucks?” asked Dolan. “Nobody seems to care.”
Michael Barr, who lives across the street from the proposed development said a lot of accidents already occur in the area. He noted the light pollution coming from warehouses already built.
“I live a quarter mile away and it already looks like an alien ship landing there,” said Barr. “Imagine two more buildings.”
Attorney Richard Ricketts, who represents Dale and Teresa Schacht, said the area is no longer a farming community and the couple is going to have to sell the ground to someone.
On behalf of the Schachts, he said they would prefer Canal Winchester take the lead.
“Is Canal Winchester going to be in charge of this project or are they going to let the city of Columbus plan this project?” asked Ricketts. “You know what’s going to happen if it goes to Columbus. You really need to look at it if you’re in control of what’s going to happen in this area or are you going to let Columbus have control of the future of this area.”
The rezoning was up for a first reading on the council’s Nov. 1 agenda.