Delaware officials hope a proposed annexation on the city's southwest side will lead to new jobs.
Delaware City Council conducted a special meeting Monday, June 30, to discuss the annexation of about 47.5 acres at 2663 Airport Road, west of U.S. Route 42 South in Delaware Township. Council members unanimously approved a resolution detailing what services the city could offer to the site -- a required initial step in the annexation process.
The annexation petition by the property's owner -- the Barbara A. Spierling Family Trust -- states the land usage likely would change from agricultural to light manufacturing if the annexation is granted.
Sean Hughes, the city's economic development director, said officials are engaging in talks with an end user that would build a facility on a portion of the site, which sits directly west of North American Bus Industries' operations headquarters.
Hughes said he could not release the name of the firm because it is the target of ongoing retention and expansion talks with the city. The discussion involves state and local tax incentives that have not been finalized.
"There's still a lot of moving parts," he said.
Hughes said the firm's name will be divulged when the incentive package is finished and brought before City Council for approval.
John T. Lewis, a potential owner and developer of the site, said the goal is to attract up to three companies to locate on the land. Lewis works for North American Bus Industries, but he said that firm is not involved in the possible annexation or expansion project.
"We don't actually have any of (the lots) sold yet, but we've got a couple of good prospects," he said.
In a letter to council dated June 27, City Manager Tom Homan describes the firm looking to expand on the site as one of the city's "fast-growing industrial and research and development employers." The letter states the proposed annexation and expansion could allow the city to retain the company's 38 jobs and benefit from the creation of 10 new jobs with $800,000 in additional payroll.
If the expansion project goes forward, Hughes said the site would still have 26 or 27 acres for future light industrial development.
He said the city should have no problem offering fire, police, road maintenance, sanitary sewer and water service to the site.
"It's a site that makes sense for us to develop," he said.
The site also could benefit from the planned extension of Sawmill Parkway northwest to Section Line Road, which will open a major north-south route for traffic and development in Delaware County.
Hughes said the site could be developed without the Sawmill Parkway extension, but the positive momentum behind that project made the site even more attractive to developers.
City officials previously said the city's industrial park does not have the necessary space available to attract large employers. The extension is seen as a possible solution to that problem by opening up more lots to development.
Now that council has approved a resolution of services, the annexation petition goes to the Delaware County board of commissioners. If commissioners approve the annexation, the city must wait 60 days before it can approve or reject the proposal.