Nearly two weeks after allowing annexation plans for new warehouses along Bixby Road to move forward, Canal Winchester City Council has another similar plan to consider.
Chicago developer Stotan Industrial LLC presented plans during council’s Sept. 20 work session to build two structures, totaling approximately 950,000 square feet, on nearly 87 acres at Winchester Pike and Bixby Road.
Council heard the first of three readings for the project’s pre-annexation and economic development agreements during the regular meeting that followed the work session.
The location is just south and west of a Kansas City developer’s proposed warehouse project on 70 acres at the intersection of Bixby and Rager roads and U.S. Route 33.
City Council unanimously approved pre-annexation and economic development agreements for NorthPoint Development Inc. during a Sept. 7 meeting after residents spoke against the project.
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.
Stotan’s project, described as “very similar” to NorthPoint’s by Lucas Haire, the city’s development director, involves annexing land in Madison Township that is owned by Harriet S.B. Levin.
The Type II annexation, under Ohio law, would keep the property in Madison Township for property-tax purposes.
The property is adjacent to Canal Winchester and the city of Columbus.
“This agreement gives the owner the right to detach the property in the future if the zoning they’re requesting for industrial use is not entitled,” Haire said. “If for some reason we don’t approve the rezoning to their satisfaction, it would give this owner the right to detach the property.”
As part of the economic development agreement, Stotan would extend water and sewer to the property from where it exists along Rager Road and widen Bixby Road, Haire said. Additional road improvements are possible, depending on a traffic study.
A negotiated property-tax abatement would need to be approved by Canal Winchester and Groveport-Madison schools.
“We’re excited to get into your community,” Stotan Managing Partner James E. McGill told council members.
When asked by Councilman Pat Lynch about the jobs and wages the project would create, developers said those details would be worked out as part of the economic agreement.
“What’s to say 10 years down the road with automation, how much of a jobs guarantee will there be?” Lynch asked.
Councilwoman Jill Amos expressed concerns about truck traffic and asked developers how they would help find a financial solution. Improvements totaling $73 million have been discussed for the interchange at U.S. 33 and Bixby and Rager roads. However, the plans have not been funded.
“With all these warehouses and the amount of traffic that’s polluting the city and trying to get people in and out of our city, $1 million would be helpful,” Amos said. “If developers are bringing in the problem, they should be part of the solution.”
McGill pointed out that the community of West Jefferson imposed a transportation-impact fee on development, so they weren’t “picking and choosing.”
Residents have been vocal about their opposition to more warehouses. A group, CW for Smart Growth, has more than 700 followers on Facebook.
Members of the group have asked council to pause development until a comprehensive plan guiding future growth is in the place.
City Council hopes to create the plan over the next year.