By Rick Palsgrove
Traffic issues prompted Groveport City Council to postpone a vote on the final development plan for two warehouses along South Hamilton Road.
Also, some council members expressed concern that the city’s residents do not want more warehouses in that area.
In light of council’s concerns, Phil Rasey, vice president of development for the
Pizzuti Companies requested council postpone the vote on the final development plan until June 10 so the company and city officials can further review the traffic issues and explore options.
The Pizzuti Companies wants to build two warehouses on 44.4 acres at 4500 S. Hamilton Road. One warehouse would be 324,000 square feet and the other would be 252,000 square feet.
Rasey said the buildings would be “last mile” distribution centers with multiple tenants.
“There is a prospect for one of the buildings, but I’m not at liberty to discuss it at this time,” said Groveport Development Director Jeff Green. “Because the buildings are considered ‘spec’ buildings, we wouldn’t have projected income tax revenue figures at this time.”
Green said the property has a 15 year property tax abatement.
If the two warehouses are built, traffic going in and out of the development would use the traffic signal at South Hamilton Road (State Route 317) and Higgins Boulevard/Director’s Boulevard. Though a traffic study was done and the plan calls for improvements to and modernization of the intersection,
Councilman Ed Dildine said there are already lengthy traffic back-ups on South Hamilton Road at certain times of day and that “now it’s proposed two more big buildings be added to that area.”
Added Council President Shawn Cleary of the proposed new warehouses, “That’s a whole lot of people at one location. The traffic situation needs to be improved. I have mixed feelings because of the numbers.”
Councilwoman Becky Hutson and Councilman Chad Grashel both noted the city’s residents have expressed they do not want more warehouses in the area.
“I’m looking for something else that the residents can enjoy there,” said Grashel of the area where the warehouses are proposed to be built.
Green said existing zoning allows for warehouses to be built on the site and that the buildings fit with the city’s Gateway Corridor Plan. He said if retail businesses were built there it would create continuous traffic all day on South Hamilton Road.
“I don’t want to see retail or a strip mall there,” said Dildine. “I have no problem with the development because it does fit there. My issue is with the traffic.”
The city’s Gateway Corridor Plan addresses redevelopment along two of the main roadway corridors into town: the South Hamilton Road corridor between U.S. 33 and Bixby Road; and the Groveport Road corridor from State Route 317 west to Swisher Road.
The Gateway Corridor Plan cites potential uses that include an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 square feet of building space on the 44.4 acre 4500 S. Hamilton Road site.
When asked how The Pizzuti Companies’ proposal fits in with the city’s vision for the Gateway Corridor Plan in the Hamilton Road corridor, Green said, “The developers are taking great pains with landscaping, buffers and other site features to create a more attractive and less industrial appearance. Given the fact that these buildings will be situated between other similar structures, it will be compatible.”
Warehouses on Saltzgaber Road
Land along Saltzgaber Road could become the home to two new large warehouses.
Groveport City Council is considering a proposal from Paul Hemmer Companies to build a 275,000 square foot warehouse and a 240,500 square foot warehouse on 37.6 acres located on the east side of Saltzgaber Road south of Groveport Road.
As part of the proposal, pending an approved traffic study, Saltzgaber Road could be widened to three lanes with a 100 foot diameter turnaround placed on the south end of the road near Toy Road. Also, 225 foot (south) and a 150 foot (north) left turn lanes could be provided from Groveport Road to Saltzgaber Road.
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said the developer’s traffic study is still being reviewed by the city’s traffic engineer and Franklin County officials, so specific details of what will be expected in the way of off-site improvements are not yet available.
“We will require the developer to pay for any off-site improvements required for their development,” said Hall. “The only items we (the city) would pay for are those improvements responding to background traffic.”
According to the project’s development plan, if the project is approved, work on the road improvements and first warehouse could begin in the second half of 2019 and work on the second warehouse in the second half of 2020.
The city of Groveport’s planning and zoning commission will review the proposed Saltzgaber Road warehouse project at its June 3 meeting at 6 p.m. in the Groveport Municipal Building, 655 Blacklick St. After the planning and zoning commission’s review, the proposal would be sent to Groveport City Council for further consideration.