A large development that allows for restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, a hotel, warehouses and more could be coming to Harrison Township.
The Harrison Township Zoning Commission voted to recommend rezoning more than 280 acres along Outville Road to a Planned Unit Development during a special meeting May 18.
The development area, which is located between South Alley in Kirkersville to the north and Interstate 70 to the south, would include a mix of commercial and industrial development.
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The zoning text calls for the development to be broken into four phases and includes permitted uses for all four phases. Phases 1 and 2 will allow for industrial uses, such as warehouses and storage, excluding personal storage facilities and warehousing of flammable, toxic or explosive material. Manufacturing of machinery, electronic equipment, medical supplies, electric lighting and wiring, and similar products are all permitted uses.
Phase 3 will permit grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, dry cleaning services, barber and beauty shops, restaurants, day care centers, nursing or assisted living facilities, hotels with three or more floors, and other similar commercial businesses.
Phase 4 will remain wetlands and no commercial or industrial development will occur in that area.
When asked about the benefits, attorney for the applicant and owner of the property Don Plank said the general development standards call for at least 30% of the property to remain open space. A paved multi-use trail will also run from Kirkersville to the site, so residents can ride bikes or walk in the area, he said.
While restaurants in the area might be small, Plank said they will still allow for people to get coffee on their way to work or pick up dinner on the way home.
“I just think that it becomes a convenience to the people living there as well,” he said.
Commission member Laney McLaughlin said people of Kirkersville have to go to the grocery store in Pataskala, Hebron or Heath, and that could be added hardship with gas prices at record highs and for older adults who can no longer drive.
“If you’re older and you live in town and you’re even in a motorized wheelchair, you can go down to the convenience store through that bike path, get a gallon of milk, that kind of thing,” she said. “Yeah maybe you pay 50 cents more for it, but at least it’s there.”
The rezoning has been in the works for months and Plank and his team have continued to make changes as requested by the commission to address al their concerns. It was the fourth time the matter had been before the commission.
Plank said the zoning for the property will be dictated by the zoning text and the site plan.
“If it’s not addressed in our text, the (township) zoning code will apply,” he said.
The zoning text as approved by the commission includes two conditional uses. One for overnight truck parking and another for motor vehicle service and repair shops. Because they are conditional uses, any company wishing to build or allow either of the options would have to be approved by the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
The rezoning now goes before the Harrison Township Trustees for approval, which will require a public hearing. The next regular meeting is Monday, June 6 at 6 p.m.