Schottenstein development presented, passes first step

On March 3, the Groveport Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the Schottenstein Trustees’ rezoning request for 353 acres located east of the intersection of Rohr and Pontius roads.

Groveport Village Council will hear second and third readings on the rezoning legislation at its April 14 & 28 meetings. A public hearing will be held on the issue on April 28 prior to the council meeting.

Schottenstein Trustees are seeking to rezone the property from community commercial, rural, and planned residential multi-family apartments of six units per acre to planned industrial park.

About the proposed development

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 western most boundary of the property along Pontius Road abutting the Air East industrial park to the south.

Additionally outlined in the plan 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 (the rezoning would codify the no build zone into the actual legislation);

•a 104.7 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; and

•a third of an acre reserve surrounding the 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), which could include moving the buildings to another location with Schottenstein Trustees footing the bill or working with the GHPS to maintain the structures on their present site.

Plus, sometime in the future a 1.2 million square foot warehouse could be built nearby sometime in the future east of Little Walnut Creek.

Mike Shannon, attorney for Schottenstein Trustees, stated at the March 3 planning and zoning commission meeting that the 1.4 million square foot structure will be "designed as a state of the art building that will be more than just a warehouse. It can also be a labor intensive call center and office support for the distribution center."

Shannon said the building could employ between 400 to 600 workers.

"It will generate income tax revenue for the village that will be more than a typical warehouse," said Shannon.

Reactions to the development

Speaking at the March 3 planning and zoning meeting, Newport resident Charlotte Barker said she feels the plan does not adequately address: flooding issues caused by stormwater runoff, decreased quality of life concerns, impact on property values, and noise and light pollution.

Shannon said the stormwater runoff regulations issued by the village, as well as the Ohio EPA, do not allow for a development to create additional runoff. Engineer Kurt Zessler of Hockaden and Associates said a series of detention and retention ponds, as well as bio swales, would be in place to detain the runoff and help clear out contaminants before the water eventually flows into Little Walnut Creek.

Newport resident Ted Deaner had concerns on the effectiveness of the proposed buffers designed to block the warehouse from view. Additionally, Shannon Brewster, another Newport resident who also works in landscaping, felt the buffers would create "unnatural giant mounds" covered with non-native trees.

"The aesthetics don’t add up," said Brewster, adding "if you want to impress me" the landscape buffers should use no turf and native trees should be planted that would be beneficial to the area’s wildlife.

Shannon said, "We realize the buffers are not natural when compared to the conservation area, but it’s not for the lack of trying."

Shannon said the developer would be willing to discuss improvements to the proposed landscape buffers.

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