Schottenstein development presented to Groveport council

A proposed large commercial development is back before Groveport Village Council for consideration.

At its Feb. 25 meeting, council heard the first readings of six ordinances regarding the Schottenstein Trustees’ filing of a new rezoning request with the village regarding plans to develop 287 acres located east of the intersection of Rohr and Pontius roads.

In a written report to council, Development Director Jeff Green said the Schottenstein Trustees’ plan calls for the construction of a 1.4 million square foot warehouse/distribution center near the intersection of Rohr and Pontius roads. 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.

According to Green, "…the applicant has taken great care to minimize any impact on adjacent residential areas, particularly Newport Village."

Green reported these efforts include:

•a 64.3 acre no build zone along 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 104.7 acre conservation area between the proposed development and Little Walnut Creek to protect green space and the stream corridor;

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

•a reserve surrounding the historic 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.

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

The rezoning request will be discussed at the village’s March 3 planning and zoning meeting at 6 p.m. in the municipal building at 655 Blacklick St.

"The approval of this rezoning could produce some dramatic economic development benefits for the village," wrote Green.

Background of the project

Last year, Schottenstein Trustees presented plans to construct two office/warehouse buildings fronting Pontius Road – one building around 571,000 square feet and the other around 975,000 square feet.

However, that 2007 plan faced vehement opposition from residents in the nearby Newport subdivision. Residents felt the development would adversely impact the quality of life of the residents with noise, litter, and loss of trees. They stated potential problems the proposed warehouse development could cause included: increased traffic, safety issues, light pollution, visual pollution, environmental concerns, drainage issues, air pollution, an adverse impact on Little Walnut Creek, noise pollution, and ground water problems.

In a letter presented to council at its Feb. 26, 2007 meeting, attorney Michael Shannon wrote that his client, Schottenstein Trustees, decided to withdraw their request to rezone the property.

The letter indicated the withdrawal came about, not because the Groveport Planning and Zoning Commission did not recommend the rezoning to council, but because the commission "…failed to take any formal action to modify our proposed planned industrial park to include numerous concessions made to the commission in our seven months of ongoing negotiations."

Among the developer’s concessions last year were: the donation of 17 acres of park land along Rohr Road; and the commitment for preservation and possible relocation of two historic structures on the property.

Though that application was withdrawn last year, the letter went on to note Schottenstein Trustees’ "intent to refile a new application at a later date…," which it has now done.

Other Groveport news

•Council postponed a vote on an ordinance to grant a use variance to School House Finance – which operates Groveport Community School located at 4485 S. Hamilton Road – for an additional charter school at 4085 Venture Place. The school plans to convert the former Nifco property, which sits behind the existing school, into middle school classrooms and labs for grades 7 and 8. A gymnasium addition is also proposed for the site.

Groveport Community School currently operates a charter school for grades 1-6. The proposed middle school would increase the number of students in the Groveport Community School complex from 350 to 650. School officials hope to have the middle school project completed by August 2008.

However, concerns over the amount of increased traffic, generated by the school complex’s growth, into an already busy Venture Place/Homer Ohio Lane/State Route 317 intersection led council to postpone its vote on the use variance until its March 10 meeting to allow for a traffic study of the intersection.

•Council approved an ordinance to contract with Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the purchase of two additional outdoor warning sirens. Currently the village has sirens near Main Street at Hendron Road and behind Eastland Career Center. Emergency officials state Groveport needs two more sirens to properly cover the village.

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