(Posted May 22, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Another developer is looking at building a warehouse in West Jefferson.
On May 20, Brian Free, a construction project manager with The Pizzuti Companies in Columbus, presented a site plan for a prospective warehouse north of the intersection of Byerly Road and U.S. Route 40 on the west side of the village.
Free said the plan is to build a facility that is 848,000 square feet in size with the possibility of expansion to 1.2 million square feet. Pizzuti does not have a tenant lined up for the facility. The idea, Free said, is that they would build it then put it on the open market to be leased out.
The long-term plan includes building a second facility on property adjacent to the first one, but Free said the focus right now is on the first phase.
Pizzuti is doing what it needs to be sure the site will work for the warehouse they have planned. Storm water retention is an issue on the property. Free said his company is working on solutions that include a retention pond and recharge wells.
The company also requested a variance from the village for its landscape plan. The planning and zoning commission approved the plan and recommended it to council.
Mayor Ray Martin asked if Pizzuti’s plan would involve creating access to the property from Byerly Road.
“There will never be an entrance off of Byerly Road,” Free assured Martin.
Byerly is too narrow, he said. The warehouse’s entrance would be off of Commerce Parkway. Vehicles entering and exiting the site would use the same path to the highway as the nearby Target warehouse.
Free said there is a chance the second phase of the project would involve an entrance off of Route 40, but that the Ohio Department of Transportation would play a big role in that plan, should the second warehouse project become a reality.
Council voted unanimously to grant the variance for the landscape plan.
In other business, John Mitchell, West Jefferson’s public service director, reported that the village isn’t getting the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funding for which he applied.
The funding–$117,750 in grant form and $117,750 as a zero-interest loan–would have helped to offset costs of improving the Norwood sanitary sewer from the entrance of Norwood Elementary across the backyards of 23 homes. The tiling is old and decaying, causing infiltration problems and a burden on the sewer plant during heavy rains.
Council set aside $340,000 in this year’s budget to fix the problem. Mitchell recommended that the village move forward with the project, despite the lack of state funding to offset some of the cost. He said the village could wait and try again next year for state funding but added that the problem should be fixed sooner than later.
Should council choose to proceed with the project this year, Mitchell estimates work could begin in November and finish up in February or March.
Council member Doug Eakins recommended that Mitchell right up a proposal with options to present to council’s public service committee.
Marci Darlington, parks and recreation director, announced that the village pool will open May 31. She said more lifeguards are needed.
The next West Jefferson council meeting is at 7 p.m. June 3.