Grocery store and Starbucks planned for West Jeff

Kroger is looking to build a small-format grocery store, called “Fresh Eats,” at the northeast corner of U.S. Route 40 and State Route 142 on the east side of West Jefferson. This rendering shows what the store’s exterior would look like. A Starbucks is part of the format.

(Posted March 9, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

After a year and a half of negotiations, West Jefferson council approved legislation that could result in construction of a small-format Kroger store at U.S. Route 40 and State Route 142/Plain City-Georgesville Road.

“This is not something we’ve drawn up overnight,” said Council President Steve Johnston at the March 6 council meeting.

The first piece of legislation authorizes the village to enter into a water and sewer agreement with Kroger Co. and William R. Miller and Kris A. Miller. The second is a pre-annexation agreement.

Kroger controls 5.5 acres at the northeast corner of the intersection, located on the east side of town.

“We plan to build a 12,000 square-foot grocery store that has a pharmacy, food service and a Starbucks,” said Al Smith, director of small format for Kroger. The store will be a “Fresh Eats,” a new Kroger store format.

Council member Lorie Cafagno asked how the plans compared to the Kroger store in Marysville.

Kroger’s small-format Fresh Eats stores include groceries, a pharmacy, grab-and-go food, and Starbucks. This rendering shows what the layout of the West Jefferson store could look like.

“It is double the size of the Marysville store,” Smith said. “The Marysville store was an inspiration for this one.”

Before Kroger builds, they want to secure water and sewer services, as well as police and fire protection. To get these amenities, the land must be annexed into the village.

Land up for annexation must lie adjacent to village property. The acreage that Kroger controls is not adjacent to the village. Kroger is working with the Miller family, who owns 402 acres across the highway; the land is under consideration for a housing development. The Miller property is contiguous to the village, and the Millers wish to annex part of the property to the village for the water and sewer services.

According to the water and sewer agreement, Kroger is willing to construct a water main extension and a sewer main extension along U.S. Route 40 to serve its property and the Millers’ property.

Both parties must go through the annexation and rezoning process before any work can be done.

Kroger would have one year from the completion of the annexation and rezoning to execute the design plan, or the agreement becomes null and void unless extended by written mutual agreement.

The agreement also stipulates that Kroger complete the improvements within two years.

After the Kroger presentation, Karl Billisits of the Harmony Development Group showed two renderings of what could be done on the Miller property. One version showed just the housing development, while the second included a school.

“When you work with this size and have new people moving in, you think of schools,” he said.

Billisits said the plans call for several different types of housing, including single-family homes and apartment buildings.

Before the council vote, Johnston said the agreement before council was the 11th version. Council member Doug Eakins tried to stall the vote, saying, “I just got this Friday. Can we have a work session?”

Council did not delay the vote, instead passing both pieces of legislation—the water and sewer line extension and the pre-annexation agreement—unanimously.

Cafagno seemed excited about the possibilities.

“This village is growing, whether we like it or not,” she said. “These two components are part of that growth.”

Council member Mike Conway commended Mayor Ray Martin for working with others.

“The doors are much more open now than two years ago,” he said.

In another business, council approved an ordinance that creates a fire and EMS service fee and adopted procedures for the calculations, collections, expenditures, and administration of the funds.

The ordinance requires that any new building that claims a property tax abatement be subject to a one-time fee of 25 cents per square foot up to $25,000. The money would help to pay for fire and emergency medical services.

Martin said he wished the village had had such legislation back in 2007 when a lot of the construction took place.

Jeff Pfeil, a Jefferson Township trustee, wanted council to postpone the fee vote to allow for further discussion that included himself and the other two trustees.

He also asked village leaders to consider the impact construction of a grocery store and housing development would have on the Jefferson Township Fire Department, which serves the township and the village of West Jefferson.

Council also:

  • hired part-time police dispatcher Lisa K. Richmond full-time at a 20-year level of $18.54 per hour. She has more than 30 years of experience with the Ohio Highway Patrol, LEADS, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office;
  • approved replacement pages in the village’s codified ordinances. This legislation brings sections on traffic codes, general offenses code, and fire prevention code in line with state guidelines and state laws;
  • hired Columbus Asphalt Paving for the 2017 pavement maintenance program at a cost of $218,000.


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