The New Albany International Business Park is slated to expand again, this time by more than 350 acres.

On Feb. 19, New Albany City Council has scheduled second readings and public hearings for two ordinances to annex and rezone 357.2 acres in Licking County, on the eastern border of the business park.

The land is in Jersey Township, west of Harrison Road, east of Beech Road, south of Worthington Road and north of Morse Road, according to a Jan. 11 legislative report to council members.

The land would be rezoned from an agricultural district to a limited employment district. The rezoning would allow for general-office uses, warehouse and distribution, off-premises signs, data centers and research-and-production uses, the legislative report said.

Attorney Aaron Underhill, the legal representative for the New Albany Co., said the company is in contract to purchase the land proposed for annexation and requested the land be annexed.

The New Albany Co. also requested the rezoning, according to the legislative report.

Underhill said the New Albany Co. has not identified an end user for the land.

Rather, he said, the annexation and rezoning is a continuing effort to have large tracts of land available for large developments.

Jersey Township trustee Kathy Frost said the trustees have approved the annexation agreement.

The Licking County commissioners approved the annexation petition Nov. 8, according to the legislative report.

City Council on Feb. 19 also could add the 357.2 acres to the boundaries of a tax-increment-financing district south of state Route 161, east of Beech Road, north of Morse Road and west of Harrison Road.

Under the terms of the annexation agreement, Jersey Township's fire department and EMS services would be reimbursed if the city were to approve a tax abatement or a TIF on the annexed land, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director.

However, adding the land to the TIF district doesn't actually put a TIF agreement into effect for a prospective business, Chrysler said.

"It's a proactive step in order to create competitive sites for economic-development opportunities," she said.

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 is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments.

In the case of a "nonschool" TIF, the additional property-tax revenue is diverted from all entities except school districts, Chrysler said.

Recent state legislation added vocational schools to that exception, she said.

For the "nonschool" TIF under consideration Feb. 19, the school district is the Licking Heights Local School District, according to the legislative report.

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