Groveport City Council agreed last week to declare 21.5 acres off Hayes Road as parkland, a move that Finance Director Jeff Green said will save the city about $80,000 in property tax payments.
The city acquired the land as part of a deal with commercial developer Cabot in July 2013. It had been farmland, but can no longer be used for that purpose because it is in a protected stream corridor, and as such, does not present the city with revenue options, Green said.
"If we were going to farm it, we'd need to pay the annual property taxes on it, which is about $80,000, unless we designate it as park land," he said. "If we do anything with it other than park activities, we'll have to make an application to the county; otherwise, we'll owe them for all deferred taxes."
The city doesn't intend to improve the land in any way, such as adding playground equipment or a shelter house. Plans are to allow the land to remain natural prairie space for now.
Green told council there are development plans for property nearby at 3099 Rohr Road. Van Trust Real Estate LLC has submitted a request to the city to build two separate industrial warehouse facilities totaling slightly more than 1.2 million square feet on the approximately 60-acre tract.
According to Green, the land is currently listed as a Community Reinvestment Area which provides new businesses with a 15-year tax abatement incentive for moving into the new space.
"The developer hopes to break ground late March or early April, depending on when they get all their approvals, and anticipates having at least one of the two buildings up and running this year," Green said. "Once they start filling up the first building, they'll probably break ground on the second one."
A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 10, at the Municipal Building, 655 Blacklick St., on a variance request for 557 Blacklick St. The property is zoned residential; Green said the variance would allow a small computer repair business to occupy the space.