New Albany City Council on June 18 approved a 43.1-acre annexation and zoning change that adds more land to the city's Personal Care and Beauty business campus.
City Council voted unanimously to accept the annexation from Jersey Township.
City Council also unanimously approved the zoning change from agricultural to a limited general employment district.
The land is north of state Route 161, between Smith's Mill Loop Road and Harrison Road.
Jennifer Chrysler, community development director for New Albany, said the zoning designation mirrors adjacent land in the business campus, allowing "general office activities, warehouse and distribution, off-premises signs and research and production uses."
She said personal services and retail are allowed as accessory uses, and fleet parking, manufacturing and production are allowed as conditional uses.
The limited general-employment-district zoning restricts industrial sales and services, mini warehouses, vehicle services, radio and television broadcast facilities and sexually oriented businesses.
The New Albany Planning Commission recommended approval of the zoning change May 20 but required the developer, the New Albany Co., to meet with Jersey Township residents and find ways to screen the site from the residences.
Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said the two sides met June 13 and decided to add 6-foot mounds with plants on top where the site borders residential properties. He said the goal is to achieve 75 percent opacity from the neighbors.
"This is more significant and more substantial than we've done in the past," Rubey said.
Two Jersey Township residents attended the June 18 City Council meeting.
"I did not move to the city and I do not want to look out and see loading docks," said Dwight Grimm who lives on the northern border of the property. "My preference would be for the screening, the bigger the better."
Councilman Glyde Marsh said he does not like mounds, saying they detract from the rural character and the open views in rural areas. He suggested constructing more attractive buildings that don't have to be screened from site.
Rubey said neighbors had requested the mounds.
Several other homes on Harrison Road do not abut the annexed land.
Attorney Ben Hale Jr. of Smith and Hale of Columbus said if the New Albany Co. purchases more property in the area, it would agree to the same type of screening for adjacent residential properties.
Tricia Woods, who lives on the eastern border of the property and has livestock, said after the meeting that development is pushing nuisance animals like coyotes, raccoons and groundhogs farther east.
"We're seeing more infiltration of them," she said. "They have to go somewhere."
The newly annexed 43 acres will remain in Licking County.
Licking County commissioners approved the annexation on March 21, Chrysler said. The city had to wait 60 days to accept the annexation.
New Albany and Jersey Township signed an annexation agreement in November that provides Jersey Township with 50 percent of the incremental increases on the land's property-tax revenue for 15 years.
The incremental revenue will be tied to a tax-increment financing district on the land.
A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Department of Development. A TIF works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation was approved, thus diverting the incremental revenue to the designated uses.
New Albany would be responsible for some road maintenance in the annexed land, and Jersey Township would be responsible for the rest.
Jersey Township contracts with the Monroe Township Fire Department to provide emergency services to the area, which will not change.
New Albany already has other revenue-sharing agreements in place for the 43 acres.
If any new businesses build on the land, the city would collect income taxes from the employees.
The income-tax revenue would be divided, with 30 cents of every dollar going to the New Albany Community Authority to pay off debt incurred to develop the local business parks. The other 70 cents would be split equally between the city and the school district with jurisdiction over the area.
Hale said the New Albany Co. does not have a tenant for the land at this time.