On March 6, 2018, the Union County Board of Elections heard testimony concerning the Glacier Pointe residential housing development on Mitchell-Dewitt and McKitrick roads. Currently, the land is vacant. A group of citizens circulated a referendum petition and gathered signatures against the proposed development. Their main concern was traffic. The referendum petition was an attempt to place the issue on the November ballot for a township vote.
Testimony before the 4-member Board lasted about two hours, wherein the Board reached its decision and denied the legitimacy of the petition. Several factors were considered including citizens signing the petition without being witnessed by the circulator, citizens signing more than once, and legal questions about the completeness of the petition.
The 248+ acre site, now owned by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, will contain single family homes and patio homes geared to 55+ and empty-nesters. New construction will comprise 430 units, with over 104 acres of green space devoted to the preservation of existing woods and wetlands. Also, of benefit to the citizens of Jerome Township and Union County will be paved bike and walking paths connecting neighboring communities to the Glacier Ridge Metro Park Complex.
The Jerome Township Zoning Board and Trustees determined the Glacier Pointe development fits well into the comprehensive plan and would be a nice addition to the area. The exceptionally large area of green space and associated trails will be favorable assets. The tax base will be increased and revenue coming into the county will increase, too.
On January 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm the Jerome Township Board of Zoning Appeals heard public and developer input on the proposed FedEx Ground distribution warehouse on Industrial Parkway. Since the last Board meeting, the developer changed its application to ask for only 1 variance and 1 conditional use permit.
FedEx Ground is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and handles only small package shipping. The expected timeline for the Jerome Township facility would be Start spring 2018, equipment installation spring 2019 and operations start summer 2020. The facility would initially comprise 488,000 square feet and would be expandable to 528,000 square feet.
Landscaping would include a 9-foot decorative fence and continuous evergreen trees installed at 6 to 8-feet tall. A 3-foot mound would border Industrial Parkway. A sound wall would be constructed on the western parcel boundary, closest to any residential structures; the wall would vary from 12 to 20-feet tall and would be constructed from concrete, not wood as initially stated.
Traffic was a major point of discussion. Upon opening, FedEx expects 1,011 vehicles per day and at full capacity in 2030, 3197 vehicles per day. The traffic plan as contemplated by FedEx and Union County and composed by EMH&T is based on the highest peak points of vehicle usage, whereas the remainder of the year is 70-80% of that volume.
A new signalized interchange is proposed for the intersection of Route 42 and Industrial Parkway for which FedEx will be contributing $428,000 in addition to $200,000 for improvements to the Dublin roundabout system and $50,000 for a signal at Corporate Boulevard. FedEx has also worked with the Ohio Department of Transportation to move up interchange fund approval for improvements to the US33/Route 42 interchange.
Property contiguous to the FedEx parcel and to the north, owned by the Starkey family, is slated for development for a manufacturing facility.
Speakers at the meeting raised issues:
- Glenn Hochstetler and Pete Kruse spoke about the “crazy 8’s” of the roundabout system near Dublin and the danger of trucks using that area. Emergency services and sound in addition to traffic concerns were also discussed.
- Lucinda Burian spoke about increased US33 traffic, area crime rates, and the possibility of drivers seeking to use local roads as cut-throughs.
- Melissa Bradley of Mitchell-Dewitt Road who is also a business owner commented that the FedEx facility is too large. There is inadequate buffering of sound and the possibility of flooding.
- Karl Zeiters of Industrial Parkway spoke about noise pollution.
- Jesse Dickinson of Brock Road was concerned about the increased usage of the sewer system, the care and maintenance of the ponds, the possibility of an on-site gas pump, and the possibility that increased development in the area will increase the pace of life in Jerome Township.
- Barry Adler of Industrial Parkway spoke about pollution and traffic.
- Mrs. Politano distributed a petition against the development.
- Mark Gray, the owner of a nearby storage facility who is also a registered engineer in Ohio spoke about noise pollution, safety and the increased stacking of traffic in the area.
- Joe Kuntz of Kimberly Drive stated FedEx is not a small business whereas Jerome Twp. is trying to attract smaller companies. He questioned the objectivity of the Board.
- Jeanette Harrington of Mitchell-Dewitt Road asked who would want to build near such a large facility. She shared concerns about the character of the area and the compliance with the Jerome Township Comprehensive Plan.
- Erik Berkman commented that a variance should not be granted unless circumstances of the request are peculiar to that site or applicant.
- Terrence Wynne of Mitchell-Dewitt Road is one of the closest residents to the FedEx site. He shared concerns about night work, the height of light poles, back-up alarms on trucks, and the health hazards of the proposed facility.
- Thomas Jones of Industrial Parkway is a 10-year resident. He spoke of traffic concerns especially trucks stopping along Industrial Parkway and the noise pollution created.
- Venkat Punit who lives at Mitchell Crossing was concerned about property values and sleep problems created by noise.
- Jennifer Wiene of Mitchell-Dewitt Road shared concerns about noise and the possibility of delivery drones intruding on privacy.
- Rusty Yates of Mitchell-Dewitt Road said the FedEx development would be detrimental because of traffic, odors, fumes and lighting pollution.
- John Mitchell of Mitchell-Dewitt Road shared his concern about FedEx lighting a 10-acre area.
- Andrew Diamond of Spruce Court said the FedEx development failed to meet the standards required for granting of the Variance.
- Megan Sloat of Mitchell-Dewitt Road shared a drawing of the truck routes to and from the facility and compared to other facilities.
- Bill Narducci of the Union County Engineer’s office stated that FedEx had provided accurate information in the presentation and the two offices had been working together. He stated Jerome Township is by far the fastest growing Township within Union County. The Union County Engineer’s office does not specifically endorse any projects but works to make sure any negative impacts are minimized.
The FedEx group, as represented by Laura Comek, Esq., finished the presentation by answering many questions raised: The sound wall will be constructed of concrete. The braking sounds from trucks will be minimal since the trucks FedEx uses are not heavy grade and trucks are not allowed to idle. Any forklifts used will be inside the building. There is no fueling station on-site. The facility will meet all OSHA pollution standards. There will be 0 light pollution and lights will have a cut-off. FedEx has a goal to make sure the noise level will be at or below the sound already existing.
The Board of Zoning Appeals did not render a decision but will meet and announce their decision prior to or at the next scheduled meeting.
Wednesday, January 10th at 7:30 pm at the Jerome Township Hall, 9777 Industrial Parkway is the next scheduled meeting of the Jerome Township Board of Zoning Appeals concerning the Conditional Use Permit Application and Variance Application requested by the W&D Thomas Family LLC and SunCap Property Group for a warehouse facility at 8341 Industrial Parkway, Plain City, Ohio.
This January meeting results from a postponed meeting from December 13, 2017 when the full Board of Zoning Appeals was not present and the applicant, represented by Laura MacGregor Comek, Esq., requested the full board hear the presentation.
Union County First will be covering the hearings and looking for those facts which will educate all of us as to whether this project is good or bad for Jerome Township, the surrounding areas and Union County as a whole. Issues of traffic, infrastructure improvements, noise, density, jobs, economics, lighting and regional business growth have been highlighted as subjects of concern.