Plan commission recommends in favor of industrial zoning, annexation

The Columbus Plan Commission will give a favorable recommendation to rezone nearly 80 acres of agriculture land for industrial use.

Members of the plan commission unanimously voted Wednesday to send a favorable recommendation to the Columbus City Council to annex two parcels of land totaling 77.17 acres on the southwest corner of Deaver Road and Interstate 65 to the city and to rezone the land from Agriculture: Preferred to Industrial: Heavy.

Steve Booher, who submitted the annexation and rezoning applications on behalf of the property owners, said the Columbus Economic Development Board approached him about the need for more shovel-ready land for future industrial development in the city. The city’s comprehensive plan already calls for the land to be zoned for industrial use in the future, Booher said.

The larger, 62.57-acre property is owned by Tommy L. and Karen E. Booher, according to city documents. The smaller, 14.6-acre property is owned by James L. and Martha J. Baute.

There is currently no development plan for the land, so the rezoning is in anticipation of potential future development, Steve Booher said.

However, residents who own land on neighboring properties expressed concerns to commissioners about industrial development on the site.

Nancy Wheeler said she believes most of the land surrounding her property, which is north of the 77 acres of land to be rezoned, will become more residential in the future.

Many of her neighbors would prefer to keep the land zoned for agricultural use because they like the view of the open fields and do not want to have to look at large industrial buildings outside of their homes, Wheeler said. Additionally, Wheeler said she and her neighbors do not want to incur the risk of noise and air pollution that could be created by industrial development.

If there is going to be industrial development on the land, Wheeler said she and her neighbors would want it to be on a smaller scale.

Gary Wheeler, who also lives near the area targeted for industry, expressed concern about a proposed plan to extend International Drive to Deaver Road and connect it to County Road 275 West, on which he lives.

Wheeler said he does not think the property can handle the additional traffic that would be created by industrial development in the area.

Planning commissioners ultimately decided to gave a positive recommendation to the council for the rezoning.

The city council will likely consider the rezoning at its July 5 meeting, said Jeff Bergman, city-county planning director.

A second rezoning to Industrial: Heavy was also scheduled to come before the commission on Wednesday. BBG Realty Partners had submitted a request to rezone 32.7 acres of land at the northeast corner of 300 West and State Road 58 to Industrial: Heavy on 17.7 acres and Commercial: Regional on 15 acres. However, that request was withdrawn during Wednesday’s meeting.

About the rezoning

If approved by the Columbus City Council, 77.17 acres of land at the southwest corner of Deaver Road and Interstate 65 will be rezoned from Agriculture: Preferred to Industrial: Heavy to allow for future potential industrial development in the city. The city plan commission gave a favorable recommendation for the rezoning, with the following requirements:

  • Primary access to the site must be provided through International Drive
  • No driveway access will be permitted to or from County Road 300 West
  • Road improvements must be made to parts of 300 West and Deaver Road
  • Landscape buffers, including a three-foot berm, must be installed along the 300 West frontage, the Deaver Road frontage west of the I-65 overpass and around adjacent residential properties
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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.