Warehouses being considered at Hill Road and Basil Western Road

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Canal Winchester residents opposing the growth of warehouses have another pair of potential targets to add to their list with an Oct. 6 public hearing set for rezoning of land along Hill Road and Basil Western Road near Meijer.

On Aug. 9, Canal Winchester’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted against approval of a request by applicant Doug Swain with Opus Development Company and owner Weiser Development Co. to rezone the 51-acre site from exceptional use to limited manufacturing.

The property is located in Fairfield County. A draft proposal includes one 542,685 square-foot warehouse and a second 187,310 square-foot building.

Many of the same concerns expressed in opposition to previous pre-annexation and economic development agreements for a similar NorthPoint project at the intersection of Bixby Road, Rager Road, and U.S. Route 33—up for second readings at the Aug. 16 Canal Winchester City Council meeting—were shared by residents.

“They build warehouses, lease them, sell them and then run out of town like rabbits,” said Bixby Road farm owner Michael Barr. “There’s no investment in the community. I understand growth, but to rush into more warehouses is premature. There’s going to be a traffic jam down U.S. 33 like you’ve never seen before. This property can be developed in other ways besides warehouses.”

Busey Road property owner Angie Halstead said it is important for council to understand how the Opus development could impact residential quality of life and appealed to council to consider different options.

Vangela Barnes, vice chairperson of the Greater Southeast Area Commission, urged council to think about the future and the families that live north and south of U.S. Route 33.

“We want to bring people to the community,” said Barnes, who noted housing must also be available for workers, along with a better variety of businesses, restaurants and technology. “We need to think about us. That’s what brings better paying jobs to the community. Think about what you are doing and how you are going to do it.”

Janice Goodwin alleged her property values declined because of warehouse development and the increase in pollution, as well as noise and truck traffic that is negatively impacting life on her 180-year-old homestead.

While not speaking in support of the rezoning, resident Jim Bohnlein said the city did not actively solicit the landowners to sell their property to developers. He said owners are entitled to sell their property, as are all owners, whether it is a home in a subdivision or farm land.

“Nobody can say ‘you can’t sell your house,’” said Bohnlein. “They don’t have to sell it to us, to OPUS. They can sell it to whomever they please. If you’re not going to get a warehouse approved by Canal Winchester, you’ll get it approved by Columbus.”

Other news
•A public meeting to discuss the city’s comprehensive plan will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 30, prior to a Committee of the Whole session at 7 p.m. While council currently plans to conduct the meetings at Town Hall, 10 N. High St., where seating is limited to 35 individuals, the city is looking into overflow space to accommodate a larger audience.

•Council approved appointing Jeff Dieringer as the new clerk of council.

1 COMMENT

  1. ‘Both structures front U.S. Route 33’. The proposed warehouses will be north of Basil-Western Rd. They will not front US 33.

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