(Posted April 16, 2019)
By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
A new industrial park planned for West Jefferson is one step closer to realization.
On April 15, village council held a first reading on legislation to rezone 375 acres northeast of U.S. Route 40 from agricultural use to a planned commerce district. Referred to as the Looby Estate, the area sits across the road from the existing West Jefferson Commerce Park which houses the Amazon warehouse and Ace Hardware distribution center.
The legislation also provides for future conditional uses of the property and grants a variance for the landscape plan.
The multi-phase project is anticipated to take 10 to 20 years to complete and will be developed from the southeast to the northeast.
Marc Gialluca, senior development services manager of Duke Realty, the firm responsible for development of the proposed and existing industrial parks, presented a site plan to council. The plan shows that the new park will consist of seven buildings with parking and a network of connecting roads, as well as several areas consisting of 10 acres to 15 acres each reserved for natural preservation, concessions made to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy.
Six or seven stormwater ponds will be incorporated to restrict flow rates and better recharge groundwater.
“We want to play well with our neighbors,” Gialluca said.
The buildings will be cast from precast architectural concrete, keeping with the same design elements as the buildings across U.S. Route 40, with the exception of being larger or taller in scale. Buildings will sit back further and have larger signage to account for the difference in height, and the entry to the park will be 80 feet wide, providing for what Gialluca called “a nice front door.”
Approximately half of the project’s 375 acres lies outside the village limits and must be annexed before it can be rezoned and developed, Gialluca said. The Madison County commissioners have signed off on the annexation. It is now up to village council to do so, too. Council will vote on the annexation at its May 6 meeting. Also at that meeting, council will hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning and landscape plan, then hold a second reading and vote on the rezoning and landscape plan. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. in council chambers at village hall, 28 E. Main St.
Mayor Ray Martin hopes the project will attract more light industrial type businesses, ones that create lots of jobs, which benefits the village in the form of income taxes.
Currently, no specific corporation is being courted for the new industrial park.
In other action, council passed emergency legislation for an addendum to the tax increment financing agreement (TIF) between the village and Battelle Memorial Institute. The agreement allows for the reimbursement of the cost of infrastructure improvements, particularly road improvements to sections of State Route 142 intersecting State Route 29, where deceleration and turning lanes are going to be added.
Upcoming village events include:
- National Prescription Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at the Jefferson Township Fire Station, 745 W. Main St, West Jefferson. Residents can take advantage of a drive-through drop-off to dispose of unused or expired medications for safe disposal.
- Shred-It Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18 at the West Jefferson Police Department, 28 E. Main St. The public is invited to bring their personal documents to be shredded.
Upcoming events at the West Jefferson Community Center include:
- Open house, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1.
- Cinco De Mayo Movie Night, screening “Coco” at 7:30 p.m. May 5.
- P.E.P. talk by author, illustrator and obsessive dreamer Jason Tharp, 7-8:30 p.m. May 8.
- Mental Health First Aid Class, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., May 11. Attendees must register with Marci Darlington, parks and recreation director, at (740) 490-8317.
- Family Dance, “Boots, Bowties and Tiaras,”5-8 p.m. May 18.