By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The annexation of a farm property on Rensch Road has been postponed by Grove City Council until the Aug. 7 meeting.
The postponement was made to work out a pre-annexation agreement between the city of Grove City, the developer, Smart Citizens LLC, and the property owner, the heirs of the Trapp family.
According to the pre-annexation agreement, the developer and the property owner want to annex 89.3 acres of land south of Rensch Road into Grove City. It is currently in Jackson Township, but also abuts Pleasant Township.
The legislation states that the intended use of the property is for a data center. The structure would not exceed two stories or be greater than 35 feet in height. The data center footprint would not exceed 250,000 square feet, and the total enclosed building area would not exceed 500,000 square feet. The center would be located on the south side of Holton Run Stream with setbacks and screenings to appease nearby property owners.
Upon annexation, the developer plans to file an application to rezone the property.
According to Clerk of Council Tami Kelly, the Rensch Road property has a zoning classification of suburban residential in the township. Once annexed, it would come into the city at the most comparable zoning classification as required by city code. The developer plans to request a zoning change to planned unit development.
Rensch Road resident Greg Goettemoeller spoke against the annexation plan at a council meeting in July. He said a data center would fit better in an area of commerce.
“The idea of dropping a data center in the middle of a residential area has to be the craziest idea,” he said.
Resident Christi McClellan, who also lives near the Rensch Road property, believes the addition of a data center would hurt surrounding property values. McClellan is a real estate professional and she said she asked her fellow realtors if this proposed project would help or hurt the value of nearby homes. She said the answer was clear – it would hurt home values.
“Don’t tank our property values,” she said while addressing council members.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage told residents at a previous meeting that it is not the city that has requested the annexation.
“Just to be clear, the city is not doing this,” said Stage. “The city has nothing to do with it, other than the zoning. The Trapp’s have owned the property for many generations, and they have the right to sell it. They have the right to have it annexed.”
The annexation just brings the property into the city so Grove City can provide municipal services to the parcel of land. Council members said many steps would occur before the property could become a data center.
“This is only a service agreement now,” said Ted Berry, council president. “We will get to decide what goes into that land.”
Glen Dugger, an attorney with Smith and Hale in Columbus who is handling the annexation, said community outreach efforts are planned.