Zoning for Beulah debated in council

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

On April 23, Grove City Council held a special meeting to hash out details of the rezoning plan for the Beulah Park property. The property is currently zoned for heavy industry, recreational facilities and single-family residential.

The property owners, Grove City Beulah Park Investments, LLS, would like the zoning changed to planned unit development for both commercial and residential use.

According to Pat Kelley, with Grove City Beulah Park Investments, the plan is to create a mixed-use area, that includes single-family and multi-family housing. This would include apartments, condominiums and town homes.

There would also be a 175-bed assisted living facility. In addition, the plan calls for a 29-acre community park with smaller parks and open space scattered throughout the area.

Kelley said there will be space for commercial development, but they need to have the zoning text approved by council so that the developer can properly market the space to potential business owners.

“It is difficult to market the property without zoning in place,” said Kelley. “We have a challenge marketing this site and we need flexibility.”

It is that flexibility and vague zoning language that has some council members concerned.

“I feel like this is a blanket approval,” said councilman Ted Berry.

Berry said he is concerned that the zoning text regarding the commercial space aspect could lend itself to allow more warehousing into the area.

“People in West Grove do not want more warehouses,” said Berry. “I do not want more warehouses.”

In one area of the development plan, the zoning text gives development standards for light production, assembling and manufacturing and includes language requirements for truck parking and loading.

According to attorney Donald Plank, with the Plank Law Firm representing the applicant, traditional warehousing would not be permitted in the plan.

“You have to trust the developer,” said Plank.

Plank’s reassurance was still not enough for some residents.

Pete Susi, who lives near Southwest Boulevard, said they already have a big problem with semi-trucks.

“More production means more trucks,” said Susi. “You are just asking for more truck traffic.”

Some council members considered the idea of including text in the proposed zoning code that would allow council to have the final say of the businesses that wish to operate within the property. However, Kelley said this would make it more difficult for them (the property owners) to market the site.

“We can’t tell them (the business owners) that they will have to go through council,” said Kelley.

Kelley added that council will have the final approval of the development plan.

“We look forward to creating something special here in Grove City,” said Kelley.

In March, the Grove City Planning Commission approved the rezoning plan with several stipulations.

Council is scheduled to have a second reading and public hearing on the rezoning plan at the May 7 council meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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