By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Council extended the medical marijuana moratorium it enacted last year for an additional year.
The renewed moratorium, which had been set to expire May 24, will delay the issuance of business permits by the city for the cultivating, processing, and retail dispensing of medical marijuana.
Councilman Scott Lockett was the lone vote opposing extending the moratorium. He said the moratorium will discourage potential medical marijuana businesses from locating in Groveport.
He said some businesses inquired about coming to Groveport in the past year, but now they cannot be considered due to the moratorium.
“The moratorium negates everything from the start,” said Lockett. “It does not allow us to make decisions based on the merit of the business or as each situation arises.”
Lockett said the moratorium is unnecessary because, “It’s all going to be regulated any way.”
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said the program is supposed to be fully operational by Sept. 8, but there have been issues setting up the state program.
“The moratorium will allow us time to review the program once it is fully functioning,” wrote Hall in a report to council. “We will also be reviewing changes to the zoning code this summer and it would be helpful for this to be part of changes made to the code.”
Tax incentive agreement
The city will enter into a local tax incentive agreement with USA Vinyl, LLC, which is located at 5695 Greenpointe Drive in Groveport.
The company, which has been in Groveport for six years, makes vinyl fencing and railing products and uses the retail brand name Weatherables.
Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green said, when USA Vinyl first came to Groveport, the company negotiated an incentive agreement, which is set to expire at the end of 2018, where they committed to create 40 new jobs.
“Because of the rapid growth of the company, USA Vinyl has actually created 69 new jobs, 29 more than the original commitment,” said Green. “The new agreement is for the company’s expansion which will result in a second Groveport facility housing the company’s vinyl extrusion manufacturing process.”
Under the agreement, Green said the company will pay the full amount of withholding taxes, but is required to submit a report each year for the preceding year, detailing employment and payroll numbers.
“As long as the thresholds established in the incentive agreement are met, the company will then receive a payment equal to 30 percent of the local income tax withheld for the new positions. In essence, a ‘credit,’ although the Ohio Revised Code refers to it as an ‘incentive payment,’” said Green.
The agreement pertains to the 25 new jobs the company plans to create.
Green said the tax incentive agreement will not have a significantly adverse impact on the city’s annual income tax revenue generated from the company.
Company officials said they plan to invest $3 million in training and machinery and that the tax incentive agreement helps with their expansion.
Council approved the final plat for 2850 Rohr Road, the site of a former compost facility, that will be developed by Van Trust with two warehouses. According to Groveport Building Official Stephen Moore, one warehouse will be 760,000 square feet and the other 228,000 square feet.
Construction on the warehouses could begin this summer.
Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said the development agreement requires the developer to contribute a little under $200,000 toward Franklin County’s Rohr Road/Alum Creek Drive intersection improvement project. The timeline for the intersection improvement project has not yet been set.
•Council approved an agreement with Franklin County for the county take over issuing permits for trucks that do heavy hauling on the city’s streets. Previously these permits were issued by the Groveport police chief.
“The old system was cumbersome. The county is in better position to handle these permits,” said Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon.
Shannon said there are provisions to check the city’s streets for damage from heavy hauling.
Most heavy hauling in the city is generated by construction projects, such as the new gas line being put in place near Bixby Road.
•Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend the city’s parks rules to allow food trucks at city sponsored events in the city’s parks.