Council gives initial OK to industrial rezoning

The city has given initial approval to rezone and annex about 77 acres at the northern end of the Woodside Industrial Park to create a site for future industrial development.

Property owner Steve Booher is seeking an industrial zoning designation for the land, now zoned for agricultural use, city-county planning director Jeff Bergman told the Columbus City Council on Tuesday.

The vote was unanimous to approve the rezoning and annexation, although city councilwoman Laurie Booher recused herself and left the hearing room while the proposal was being considered. She had been married to Steve Booher and the land is his family’s property.

In his application, Booher wrote that the city’s economic development board had approached him about seeking the annexation and rezoning for the property south of Deaver Road and east of County Road 300W.

Economic development board executive director Jason Hester told the council that the city needs more shovel-ready land for industrial development.

Booher said in an earlier interview that the request is meant as a first step to prepare for a future development, with no specific plan for the property, he said.

The land is situated between the industrial park and some residential development across Deaver Road, Bergman said.

In its recommendation to the city council, the Columbus Plan Commission placed several requirements on the proposal that Booher would have to address if final approval is given.

Make primary access to the property an extension of International Drive and not allowing driveway access to 300W, Bergman said.

Widen surrounding roadways to 12 foot lanes with a shoulder to match the rest of the developed roadways nearby, including improvements on Deaver Road.

Additional buffering between the industrial site and the nearby residences, including a 12-foot berm with rows of evergreens on the top to shield the site of an industrial building on the property.

A resident who lives across Deaver from the property said she wanted double that amount of buffering and she did not want to look at more industrial development surrounding her home, saying the neighbors deserved to live in peace.

Booher pointed out that the 12-foot berm and trees were already double what was required by the city in the buffer zones and exceeded requirements for shielding the view from other properties.

What's next

A rezoning and annexation request for 77 acres adjacent to Woodside Industrial Park will be considered a second time at the city council’s July 19 meeting. It was approved for the first time on Tuesday.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.