Council approves annexation of CRH westside property

Graphic provided A view of the planning area for the Columbus Regional Health development on Columbus’ west side.

The city of Columbus has approved annexing nearly 700 acres of property owned by Columbus Regional Health.

Columbus City Council members voted on Tuesday to approve the second reading of an ordinance annexing the property, along with a resolution adopting a fiscal plan for the annexation. According to City/County Planning Director Jeff Bergman, there is a 30-day waiting period before the change goes into effect.

The property is about 688 acres, Bergman said. The site stretches east-to-west from Interstate 65 almost to State Road 11/Jonesville Road, and is south of the westside Walmart and north of the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds.

City council members voted in September to adopt a long-term concept plan for the area — known as the City View District Plan — as an element of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

In addition to an approximately 100-acre CRH campus on the northeast side of the site, the City View District Plan includes a variety of residential neighborhoods, commercial centers and a research and development campus. These areas would be connected to each other and nature via “open spaces, green corridors, and amenities that extend throughout the property,” officials said.

According to the fiscal plan for annexation, city departments do not see any issues with providing services in the short term, but there will likely be additional capital and personnel costs for the city as the site develops.

For instance, Columbus Fire Department officials told planning staff that in the long term, there will likely be a need for additional equipment and personnel. They also wrote that the city may want to consider adding another firehouse and ambulance.

However, the recommendations from the fire department, as well as public works, are not solely motivated by the future of this property, Bergman said.

“I would advise that the takeaway from their comments is really not so much that this development by itself generates that need for that seventh fire station, for example, but that their services are at a tipping point based on development that has occurred in Columbus over time,” he said.

The fiscal plan estimates that the current net assessed value of the property is $1,157,200, and the city will receive $12,470 in property taxes in the first year of annexation. It’s estimated that, following development of the property, the net assessed value would be $370 million, with the city receiving $4 million in tax receipts per year.

Officials added that the estimated tax receipts do not account for exemptions, property tax caps and levy increase maximums.

“Future-build out conditions are based on the City View District Plan’s Land Use and Development Framework in combination with current Columbus assessed values for similar development,” the fiscal plan states. “For example, property value estimates for low-density residential areas were based on a random sampling of homes in the Wildflower, Pine Hill Estates, Orchard, Indian Hills, and Riverview Acres neighborhoods. Property value and tax receipts for planned civic and hospital areas were not included as both areas are assumed to be property tax exempt.”

Where to learn more

To access the City View District Plan, visit