The New Albany International Business Park continues to expand.

New Albany City Council on Nov. 6 approved the annexation of 374.2 acres south of state Route 161, east of Babbitt Road, west of Beech Road and north of Morse Road.

The land includes 150.2 acres from Jersey Township and 224 acres from Plain Township.

The New Albany Co. requested the annexation, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community-development director.

Jersey Township trustees approved the annexation agreement between the township and the city in August, said trustee Kathy Frost.

“This was the last step in the process,” Chrysler said.

Columbus, New Albany and Plain Township entered into an annexation agreement in 2008 that governs annexations from the township to New Albany and Columbus, said Plain Township administrator Ben Collins.

Licking County received notice the annexation has been filed and granted in Franklin County, where most of the land is located, according to Licking County board of commissioners clerk Beverly Adzic.

“It is our understanding, pursuant to ORC 709.11, in a petition for annexation spanning two counties, the petition is filed in the county in which the majority of the acreage to be annexed is located. At this point, Licking County is investigating its obligation relative to this petition for annexation,” Adzic said.

In addition Nov. 6, City Council approved the rezoning of 635.4 acres in the business park. That tract includes the newly annexed 374.2 acres. The entire tract is east of Babbitt Road, north of Morse Road and west of Beech Road, and it is in both Franklin and Licking counties.

The rezoning, requested by the New Albany Co., expands the New Albany International Business Park near the Licking County portion of the park, according to a Nov. 2 legislative report to council members from City Manager Joe Stefanov.

The zoning district for the land includes such uses as general-office activities, warehouse and distribution operations, data centers and research and production.

A second annexation of 1 acre from Jersey Township also was approved Nov. 6. The acre is south of U.S. Route 62, east of the Franklin County line, west of Beech Road and north of Morse Road, and the Licking County commissioners have approved the annexation petition, according to the legislative report.

TIF created

City Council on Nov. 6 also approved the creation of a tax-increment-financing district south of Route 161, east of Babbitt Road, west of Beech Road and north of Morse Road. The TIF is in both Franklin and Licking counties and it includes the newly annexed 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 Development Services Agency.

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

Revenue that exceeds the locked-in valuation of the land usually is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments.

Almost 815 acres are included in the TIF, Chrysler said.

“It included the area that was annexed but also cleaned up several other parcels that were left out of the original Business Park South TIF,” she said.

The Business Park South TIF was created in April 2015, Chrysler said.

The estimated valuation of the property after the 30-year term of the TIF is $240 million, Chrysler said. That estimate is based on assumptions, she said.

Chrysler also said she did not know the current valuation of the land.

Because the TIF is of the “nonschool” variety, that means that by Ohio law, the school districts that are part of the TIF will collect their portion of property taxes and the rest is deposited into a TIF fund, Chrysler said. The TIF doesn’t negatively affect the Licking Heights and New Albany-Plain Local school districts, and recent state legislation also exempts vocational schools from the TIF, according to the legislative report.

The city also has agreements with Jersey and Plain townships to reimburse fire and EMS services for diverted revenue.

“The city will reimburse fire in accordance with any agreements that are in place,” Chrysler said.

Projects that could be generated as a result of TIF funding include public roads and highways, water and sewer lines, leisure trails, parks and public facilities, environmental remediation projects, stormwater and flood remediation projects, gas, electric and communications facilities, land acquisition, demolition and landscaping and signs, she said.

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@ThisWeekSarah