Council gives initial approval to annexation

Columbus City Council members have approved on first reading a proposed annexation and rezoning of nearly 80 acres in Wayne Township for future industrial development.

In November, council members approved annexing an adjacent 20-acre property in Wayne Township, even after nearby residents begged the council to reconsider before taking a final vote.

The families live next to 18.97 acres owned by the Deckard Family Trust at the northwest corner of State Road 58 and County Road 300W near the Woodside Northwest Industrial Park. They claim that any new industrial development behind their homes would box them inside an industrial park with large factories and warehouses on the west and east sides of their homes.

A request for annexation received final approval from the Columbus City Council on Nov. 6 along with rezoning from “agricultural: preferred” to “industrial: heavy” with some restrictions on the types of facilities that can be built on the property.

The Columbus Plan Commission recommended Tuesday that council members approve a second request by the Deckard Family Trust to annex and rezone an additional 78-acre property adjacent to the 18.97-acre property. The Deckard Family Trust also owns 76.52 acres of the 78.93-acre property being considered for annexation and rezoning. The additional 2.41 acres is designated right-of-way adjacent to State Road 58.

The current recommendation by the plan commission remains consistent with previous commitments made to prohibit certain types of industrial activities on the property, requirements on the placement of vehicles and loading areas on the property and other provisions designed to “minimize impacts to immediately adjoining homes.”

One of the provisions is a 150-foot-long buffer zone that includes an elevated strip of land that is at least 8-feet tall with a staggered row of evergreen trees that are a minimum of 5 feet in height. This buffer zone would be along County Road 450S.

A 50-foot-long buffer zone with an elevated strip of land that is at least 8-feet tall with a staggered row of evergreen trees that are a minimum of 5 feet in height would be placed behind homes on County Road 300W.

An amendment made by at-large Councilman Tom Dell to extend the 50-foot-long buffer zone to 150 feet to remain consistent with the other buffers failed after receiving no support from any council members.

The council voted unanimously on first reading of an ordinance to annex the 78-acre property. Dell voted against the ordinance to rezone the property from agriculture to heavy industrial.

If approved by the council on final reading at its Jan. 21 meeting, the property could be annexed as early as Feb. 23, pending any objections.

State law requires a 30-day waiting period from the day the council approves the annexation before it is effective. During the 30-day period, people can file objections in court to challenge how the city calculated the contiguity of the property with the current city limits.

The council will consider both ordinances on final reading at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St.