Warehouse plan withdrawn in Groveport


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

The developer has withdrawn plans to build a 310,000 square foot warehouse on the southeast corner of Saltzgaber and Groveport roads.

“The costs for the public improvements (roads and utilities) were more than the developer felt the project could bear,” said Groveport Building Official Stephen Moore at the city’s Oct. 5 planning and zoning commission meeting.

Becknell Industrial of Lyons, Ill., a national industrial warehouse developer, had applied to rezone approximately 21.4 acres  at 5770 Saltzgaber Road from rural to planned industrial park.

In a letter to the city of Groveport dated Sept. 23, Terry Levin, assistant vice president – engineering for Becknell Industrial, wrote that the property is “suitable to support the collective vision for industrial development, but the numerous public improvements necessary to support it is a burden we could not overcome given the competitive market we are in. We welcome the opportunity to review and discuss this development opportunity again in the future, but feel it best to do so without the formal rezone and development plan processes moving forward at this time.”

The withdrawn plan indicated the warehouse would have had two access points on Saltzgaber Road and that Saltzgaber Road  would have been widened by about 13 feet on the east side of the road along the parcel to help with increased traffic flow.

Area residents have stated existing traffic volume and wear and tear on Saltzgaber Road, and nearby Toy and Swisher roads, generated by the neighboring industrial parks has been an ongoing problem. The residents say they have been troubled for years by large amounts of semi-truck and employee traffic going to and from the area warehouses on the narrow country roads. The residents say the traffic damages private property and the roads and that some drivers speed, causing a safety hazard.

Stretches of Saltzgaber, Toy and Swisher roads fall within the different jurisdictions of the city of Groveport, the village of Obetz, and Madison Township.

“I know that something is going to be built on that (Saltzgaber Road) property and a warehouse would be much better than apartments,” said Toy Road resident Laurie Lyles. “However, I hope that we and our roads are taken into consideration and the traffic is entering from Greenpointe Drive and not from Saltzgaber Road. We do not need any more traffic on these roads.”

In August, Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said Saltzgaber Road is currently not in condition to bear the weight of semi-trucks and any future road redesign must meet city and county standards.

In an Oct. 13 report to Groveport City Council, Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall stated she and Farst recently attended a meeting with State Senator Kevin Bacon regarding the issues surrounding Toy Road. The meeting also included representatives from Madison Township, the village of Obetz, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), Franklin County Engineer, Ohio Department of Transportation, and area residents.

Hall said both short and long term solutions were discussed. She said some residents suggested closing Toy Road, but that all the entities are against that idea, especially the Madison Township safety services. She said MORPC will begin its study of the area soon. She said the study will take 12 to 18 months to complete because “transportation needs are just one of several pieces of the study for the entire Rickenbacker area.”

“Most at the meeting feel this study, which will provide long term solutions, should be completed so that short term solutions are not counter-productive to the long term ones,” wrote Hall in her report. “Once the MORPC study is complete, the entities agreed to work together to find funding sources to assist in these improvements.”

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