Council denies preliminary proposal for industrial park

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City Council rejected a proposal for an industrial park.

At a recent meeting, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) proposed a preliminary development plan to turn more than 362 acres of its land on the north side of London-Groveport Road into a circular economy business park. The property is located across from the SWACO landfill.

Council denied the plan with a 3-2 vote.

Jeff Wilkins, from SWACO, said the plan was to divert waste from the landfill and bring in manufacturing jobs.

“There is a high demand to create a supply chain,” said Wilkins.

According to the preliminary plan, SWACO wanted to increase its diversion rates by attracting commercial users that would use those materials within the area’s waste stream.

This could include a variety of supply chains to collect, sort, and process a mixture of materials. It could also include manufacturing companies who use reclaimed materials to produce new products.

Councilman Ted Berry said he did not envision big box warehouse facilities at that site and does not want to add more truck traffic to the roadways.

“I was under the impression that area would become a research park,” said Berry. “I see no vision here.”

Council rejected the plan because they did not want to turn the area into an industrial site and have it look like parts of State Route 104.

“Based on the current plan, I just see a massive building,” said Berry. “That is not what Grove City residents want.”

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the London-Groveport Road site is under a tax abatement from legislation passed in the 1990s. He said the idea for the abatement was to create jobs in the city.

Wilkins said the tax abatement makes developing the site more competitive.

“It really gives you a leg up,” he said.

Berry said he fails to see where the current plan would attract higher-end employment.

In 2018, the city adopted the Grove City 2050 Plan, which established a land use plan for the city’s economic and growth goals.

For the proposed site, the land use plan calls for three potential uses for the area – tech flex, flex employment, and mixed-use employment. The tech flex category includes research, office, clean manufacturing, and light industrial uses. The flex employment centers are considered light industrial development. It can include large footprint buildings that could support different uses like light manufacturing, high-tech industry, and research. Mixed-use employment centers are large-scale centers that combine places to work, shop and live with multi-story mixed-use buildings.

Since the preliminary development plan for an industrial park has been rejected by a majority of council, SWACO could resubmit a preliminary plan for council consideration.

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