A Kansas City developer hoping to expand its presence in Canal Winchester received unanimous approval from City Council to move forward with annexation plans for new warehouses.
City Council approved pre-annexation and economic-development agreements for NorthPoint Development Inc. during its Sept. 7 meeting after residents spoke against the project, which involves two structures, each more than 550,000 square feet, on 70 acres at the intersection of Bixby and Rager roads and U.S. Route 33.
Before the vote, resident Ann Bennett encouraged council to await for the development of a comprehensive plan, a guide to future growth. The city expects to hire a consultant by early next year to lead the process.
“The majority of the residents of Canal Winchester have warehouse fatigue,” Bennett said. “We are done. City officials need to stop now until that development plan is shaped and approved following heavy input from residents.”
NorthPoint has been behind a series of warehouse and industrial projects in the Rickenbacker International Airport area in recent years, including two 430,000-square-foot warehouses recently constructed on 110 acres known as Canal Crossing along Bixby Road.
Canal Winchester sold $950,000 in bonds to purchase the property and then sold it to NorthPoint for $15,000 per acre.
The new warehouses would be the second phase of Canal Crossing.
NorthPoint representatives have said the first-phase buildings at Canal Crossing are “100% leased,” with tenants expected to generate approximately 225 jobs. The new warehouses could bring just at least as many jobs, they said.
NorthPoint intends to purchase the 70 acres from Dale and Teresa Schacht and Schacht trustee James Maston and annex the property into Canal Winchester from Madison Township.
The Type II annexation, under Ohio law, would keep the property in Madison Township for property-tax purposes.
Lucas Haire, the city’s development director, said if Canal Winchester were to deny the annexation request, the city of Columbus provides water and sewer service just north of the site. Consultants for NorthPoint have indicated Columbus is a possible alternative for annexation.
“For them to go to the city of Columbus and annex into (it) – that would be within their right,” Haire said. “Annexation is always property-owner driven.”
As part of the economic-development agreement, Canal Winchester and Groveport-Madison schools would need to OK any abatements, which could be 100% for 15 years on property taxes.
The next step is to file for annexation into the city and rezone the land to limited manufacturing, which would go before the Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission and then to City Council, Haire said.
Final site approval also would go through the planning and zoning commission.
“I think it’s important for residents to note that this vote isn’t the final straw,” Councilman Will Bennett said. “There is still an opportunity for residents to file a petition within 30 days to oppose this and move it to a ballot issue. … There is an opportunity for residents to work together,” he said. “We’ve had three readings on this. Residents can surely join together to oppose this.”