Pickerington City Council voted 5-1 to approve an ordinance that will allow two private property owners to move forward with their desire to voluntarily annex into the city of Pickerington.
The legislation sets the stage for the future development of what city officials said is considered to be the next viable commercial corridor in Pickerington.
The two properties are located at the intersection of Pickerington and Refugee roads, near Pickerington North High School, in Violet Township.
Donald and Carmella Smith plan to annex their 39.73-acre property at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee roads, and Kelly Sanders seeks to annex approximately 1 acre.
The annexations would also include two other properties: South Central Power Company's Refugee Road Sub-Station and Pickerington North High School.
The latter property's potential annexation is strongly opposed by some leaders in the Pickerington education community.
If the annexation is successful, school district employees who work at PHS North would be subject to the city's 1-percent income tax.
The Violet Township Board of Trustees voted 3-0 Nov. 20 to oppose the annexation and trustees said they likely plan it.
Trustee Gary Weltlich declined to comment about the issue when reached by telephone Saturday, Dec. 7.
Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance said passage of the legislation is the first of several steps in a process, the ultimate goal of which is to prepare the site for commercial development.
Vance said he will now submit an "annexation petition," which is a legal description and map of the annexed properties, to the Fairfield County Board of Commissioners.
He said City Council will also review a "service ordinance" which would identify "what city services would be made available to the properties proposed for annexation."
"This service ordinance would be the document that would essentially make the case as to why the city of Pickerington annexing the properties in the Annexation Petition is a responsible approach to take, and how doing so will benefit those in the surrounding area," Vance said.
He said there is already in place sufficient county water and sewer services near the intersection to "support responsible commercial development."
The goal will be for the city to work with the Fairfield County Utilities Department to extend a county sewer line to the intersection, he said.
Vance said if the properties are annexed, Violet Township would not lose any revenue other than road taxes, however, they would also be relieved of the responsibility to maintain the roads in the area.
He said because every property within the city of Pickerington corporation boundaries is also in Violet Township, an increase in the annexed properties taxable value will benefit both entities.
The proposed annexation and the development it would likely spur has the potential to increase regional investments which will, in turn, "increase local and regional recurring annual revenue streams," Vance said.