By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport is looking at how to enhance commercial development along two of the main roadways that lead into the city.
The city contracted with consultant James Hartzler at a cost of $8,800 to conduct a Gateway Corridor Study of the Hamilton Road corridor between U.S. 33 and Bixby Road; and the Groveport Road corridor from State Route 317 west to Swisher Road.
“Gateways are the front door to a community,” wrote Hartzler in the study. “They establish the all important first impression on physical character, historic significance, economic activity, and potential for growth.”
Groveport Assistant Administrator and Finance Director Jeff Green said the study was needed because, as available land for industrial development within the city’s current boundaries becomes increasingly scarce, developers are looking at remaining tracts on Hamilton Road and Groveport Road at Saltzgaber for potential warehouse development.
“Even though the city relies on income tax revenue generated by the large warehouses and distribution centers, we felt it was necessary for us to closely examine these areas that are gateways to the city and develop a concept or a vision for how these corridors should best be developed,” said Green.
The Hamilton Road corridor is currently a mix of schools, warehouses, offices, township government, and other general commercial uses.
The west Groveport Road corridor is a mix of warehouses, small businesses, and residences.
Green said the study will help the city to address: recommended land use, appropriate zoning, the overall aesthetic, what types of commercial development would best complement the existing industrial development, and what the best uses are for the vacant land on Hamilton Road and Groveport/Saltzgaber Roads.
The study’s recommendations
Hamilton Road corridor:
•Adaptive reuse of existing industrial buildings.
•Establish a link between Homer Ohio Lane and Higgins Boulevard and extend Firehouse Lane.
•Potential uses for the 40 acre AEP site: school use, AEP expansion, or flex space office/industrial (with flexible interior layouts and configurations).
•Repurpose the former K-Mart warehouse to multi-tenant flex space or as a last mile delivery distribution site.
•Consider small scale service uses such as casual eating, banks, and offices.
•Discourage open outside storage.
•Create a prominent landscaped entry feature for the northern entry to the corridor at Williams Road.
Groveport Road corridor:
The 30 acre tract on the east side of Saltzgaber Road at Groveport Road is “one of the few remaining vacant parcels in the immediate area,” according to the study.
•Focus the redevelopment of the Groveport Road corridor and set the stage for future Saltzgaber Road development once accessibility issues are resolved.
•Require all new industrial and commercial projects to include improvements to all streets within and adjacent to the district to address access issues.
•Establish an annexation plan and provide for extension of utilities along the full length of the corridor after annexation.
•Create a new overlay zoning district for properties abutting Groveport Road with special requirements for setbacks, buffering, access, entry point spacing, and landscaping.
•Review and expand the uses allowed for the area adjacent to the State Route 317/Groveport Road intersection to include commercial uses that complement the adjacent warehouse development as accessory or conditional uses.
When asked what type of development the city foresees in these corridors, and if the idea is to blend the existing businesses and residences with new compatible development, Green said the city is considering, “Commercial development that would be compatible with existing industrial and other existing commercial development. In particular: restaurants, gas stations, possibly last-mile logistics providers and possibly mixed-use flex space. Not really residences, because residential development is not really a strong factor in either of the areas we studied. It’s really just a blending of existing development with compatible new development.”
Green said no specific timeline has been established yet for the future development of these corridors.