Groveport warehouse project debated

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A few Groveport Village Council members have expressed some concerns over the Schottenstein commercial development proposed for a site at Rohr and Pontius roads.

About the project

At its March 24 meeting, council heard the second readings on six pieces of legislation regarding Schottenstein Trustees’ request to rezone 353 acres, located east of the intersection of Rohr and Pontius roads, from community commercial, rural, and planned residential multi-family apartments of six units per acre to planned industrial park (PIP).

 

The plan calls for the construction of a 1.4 million square foot warehouse/distribution center near the intersection of Rohr and Pontius roads on land the Schottenstein Trustees have owned for more than 40 years. The proposed building would be situated diagonally on the site against the westernmost boundary of the property along Pontius Road abutting the Air East industrial park to the south.

Mike Shannon, attorney for Schottenstein Trustees, has stated the building could employ between 400 to 600 workers.

Additionally outlined in the plan, and slated to be codified and made part of the legislation, are:

•a 64.3 acre "no build zone" along the east side of Rohr Road running nearly the entire length of the property from the eastern most property line to a point a short distance east of the Pontius Road intersection;

•a 105.4 acre conservation area between the proposed development and Little Walnut Creek to protect green space and the stream corridor (Schottenstein Trustees are in discussions to deed this conservation area over to Metro Parks);

•several landscape buffers sized and positioned to block or minimize any visibility of the proposed development from neighboring Newport Village, including a 20 foot high landscaped mound situated northeast of the building site;

•a third of an acre reserve surrounding the two historic Ohio and Erie Canal era structures located on the northwest corner of the property with the intentions of discussing how to preserve the buildings with the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society (GHPS);

•a future building site located east of Little Walnut Creek, which could include a 1.2 million square foot warehouse, cannot be developed until a development plan for that site is reviewed by the planning and zoning commission; and

•a gravity sanitary sewer would be extended to the south and west property lines.

Council viewpoints

Councilman Jim Staebler stated residents of the Newport subdivision, which neighbors the proposed project, are circulating a petition stating the proposed no build zone, which is across Rohr Road from Newport, should not be rezoned to PIP and, instead, remain in its existing zoning designation in addition to being a no build zone.

Staebler said Newport residents are concerned that their property values will suffer if the PIP rezoning goes through. He said the residents are concerned that, whether it’s a no build zone or not, the stigma of a PIP designation across the road from homes could have an adverse effect on property values.

Councilman Ed Rarey, noting the recent flooding of Little Walnut Creek in the area, stated he has environmental concerns about the project, particularly about how the proposed development may affect  future flooding issues.

Village administrative officials responded that such drainage issues are usually addressed in the actual development stage of a project.

Also, in a 3-2 vote, council rejected a motion to combine the six rezoning ordinances into one ordinance addressing all the parcels in the proposed project area. Council members Ed Dildine and Donna Drury supported the idea, but Staebler, Rarey, and Councilman Shawn Cleary did not (Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert was absent from the meeting).

"I just wanted to make sure the residents will be able to speak their minds regarding each piece of property (in the proposed rezoning area)," said Staebler. "Especially the 64.3 acres (no build zone)."

Cleary stated, "I just wanted more accountability."

Public hearing and then the vote

A public hearing regarding the Schottenstein rezoning request will be held at 6 p.m. on April 14 in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St. Council will vote on the rezoning request at its regular meeting following the hearing.

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