By Amanda Ensinger
A local area commission is expressing concerns about the rezoning of a former farm that has been in Prairie Township for generations. Officials are considering rezoning the Hoffman Farm property from agriculture to commercial use.
The 103 acres, which was annexed to the city of Columbus, may be rezoned to construct an industrial park.
“The developers want to use the property for commercial development and build an industrial office space, including two building for cold storage for restaurants, as well as a gas station,” said Sharon Rastatter, chair of the Far West Side Area Commission.
While the commission supports the development of the property, they are concerned that the buyer has requested the sale of the right-of-way as well. Located at 800 Hilliard-Rome Road, the commission fears the sale of the right-of-way would negatively impact the long-proposed Galloway Road extension.
“When this proposal was presented to the Far West Area Commission we supported it, but then the developer added in this additional request,” Rastatter said. “We oppose this and would have never supported the development with this request in it. Several entities also have objected to adding the right-of-way to this sale.”
According to Rastatter, for more than 20 years westside residents have been asking for Galloway Road to be extended and the city of Columbus has been purchasing property west of Hilliard-Rome to complete this extension. However, if this sale moves forward, the commission fears the extension may never happen.
“We have residents stuck in traffic for hours because of all the stoppage at the railroad tracks at the Hilliard-Rome crossing. If this sale goes through and the extension is not built, it is going to be worse,” she said. “We have been waiting for more than 20 years for this project and as the population continues to grow in this area, this project is going to become even more urgent.”
According to the MORPC 2020-2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the extension is not planned to take place until between 2040 and 2050.
While Prairie Township officials would not comment on the proposed sale, the city of Columbus said right now the sale has not been finalized.
“I have passed your request onto public service, traffic management about the plans for Galloway Road extension, but do not have any other information to report,” said Jerry Ryser, right-of-way manager for the city of Columbus in an email. “As for the sale of the portion of right-of-way, it has been placed on hold until the new configuration of Old Hilliard Rome Road is built by the city.”
In the meantime, the Far West Area Commission would like to see the Galloway Road extension occur sooner than 30 years from now.
“The city of Columbus has not brought forward any plans or concepts for the Galloway Road extension – for where it would tie into Hilliard-Rome Road, how it would be impacted by this sale of right-of-way, – nor shared a timeline when such plans would be available,” Rastatter said. “We would like answers to when and how this project will move forward. We also hope it will move forward in a more timely fashion than is currently proposed.”