Hilliard officials are moving into position to allow for the possible construction of more data centers in the city.
On Monday, June 22, Hilliard City Council could hear legislation that would approve a planned-unit-development concept plan on part of what is known as the Grener tract, unofficially named after the family who once lived there and near the Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports complex at 4696 Cosgray Road.
The mostly undeveloped 104-acre tract to be rezoned consists of three parcels on the east side of Cosgray Road, west of Leppert Road and 2,500 feet south of Hayden Run Road. The 104 acres include 84 owned by the city and 20 owned by Hilliard City Schools.
The 84 acres once were owned by the school district and were part of almost 104 acres the city purchased from the school district in 2014 for $4 million. In 2003, the district had purchased 124 acres north of Scioto Darby Road between Cosgray and Leppert roads, for $50,000 per acre from the Grener family as a potential site for Hilliard Bradley High School.
The other approximately 20 acres the city purchased in 2014, including about 7 acres for Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports, are not part of the rezoning request, according to David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.
In November 2014, the city’s Grener land was rezoned to a support-facilities district, and it has a deed restriction that prohibits the use of the property for anything other than park and recreational purposes, according to a city staff report.
The deed restriction would need to be lifted in conjunction with the PUD concept plan to allow data-center uses, according to city planner John Talentino.
The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on June 11 voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the initiative to City Council.
Commission member Eric Gutknecht voted against the measure, and vice chairman Bill Uttley was absent.
“A data center is not appropriate for this piece of property,” Gutknecht said.
Alex Vulic, a resident of the Estates at Hoffman Farms, adjacent to the parcel, told commission members he is concerned about the lack of recreational spaces for youth athletics programs and clubs.
City leaders previously had said they envisioned the land as a potential spot for sports complexes, and the first facility built nearby was Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.
Ball said the city is seeking the data-center use to be prepared if any such interest arises.
“As quick as (requests) come, we want to be responsive,” he said. “The city requested this rezoning because we believe it is important to be nimble in being able to respond to opportunities that might present themselves in the market.
“Hilliard has shown itself to be a highly attractive location for data centers, so having this ability to say we have a site already zoned would be attractive from an economic-development perspective.