Revisions are being made to the proposed joint economic development agreement (JEDD) in hopes of making it more palatable to all involved.
About the JEDD
The proposed JEDD would be an agreement between Pickerington, Canal Winchester, Lancaster, Violet Township, and Bloom Township to encourage economic development along U.S. Route 33. It would encompass the U.S. Route 33 corridor from the Franklin County line southeast to Bloom Township’s eastern border. The area would include lands one mile to the north and south of U.S. 33 excluding the Canal Winchester CEDA area around Canal Pointe, residential lands, properties that are part of a pending annexation (such as the Snider-Thornton properties), and areas served by already existing joint utility agreements.
JEDDs are set up for commercial and industrial development. Property owners wanting to take advantage of a JEDD must petition to be included in the district.
The term of the proposed agreement is 30 years and all parties would agree not to annex into the JEDD, which would be administered by a five-member board. Utility services, for the most part, would be provided by Fairfield County.
On May 2 representatives from all entities involved with the JEDD met to discuss revisions to the plan.
Speaking at Pickerington City Council’s May 6 meeting, Councilman Brian Sauer said revisions include clarifications that landowners cannot be forced to join the JEDD and, that if the JEDD is sued, the lawsuit would not extend back to the city.
"They (property owners) don’t have to be in the JEDD if they don’t want to be…and (according to the attorneys) a lawsuit could not go back to the city, it affects the JEDD only," said Sauer.
Sauer also stated the city of Pickerington is only obligated to pay $5,000 in start up costs for the JEDD.
Pickerington Director of Development Tim Hansley said, in regards to questions about a potential marketing conflict the JEDD would have with the Route 33 Alliance, that the Alliance would only perform marketing functions within the JEDD if no one else was doing it.
Hansley said a final draft of the JEDD is being reviewed by attorneys and he said further public hearings might not be needed.
However, Pickerington Mayor Mitch O’Brien asked council members to consider whether they think another public hearing on the JEDD is needed, or, the issue could be placed on the finance committee agenda for discussion.
A council vote on the JEDD could come sometime this summer.
Wastewater treatment expansion
Council approved contracting with URS Corporation for an amount not to exceed $755,173 for management oversight for the city’s wastewater treatment plant expansion project.
Design work is being done for the expansion and, once that is completed, the project will be put out for bid. City officials stated they hope the bids come in below $10 million. Funding for the project will come from state loans.
Pickerington Service Manager Ed Drobina said the expansion will "mirror what we already have at the existing plant…we’re expanding what we have using the same treatment technology."
The expansion will increase the 14-year-old plant’s capacity for wastewater treatment from 1.6 million gallons a day to 3.2 million gallons per day.