SWACO planning industrial park for site across from Grove City landfill

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
The site of a proposed industrial-park development on a 362-acre site north of the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio landfill off London-Groveport Road in Grove City is shown Dec. 9. The Grove City Planning Commission on Dec. 8 approved a preliminary development plan for the project. The preliminary plan will move to City Council for its review and approval.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio is planning to fill land across from its landfill with an industrial park comprising a variety of industrial, commercial and office uses.

The Grove City Planning Commission on Dec. 8 approved a preliminary development plan for a circular-economy industrial park that would be created on 362 acres mostly on the north side of London Groveport Road (state Route 665).

A circular economy is a systematic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society and the environment, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to which SWACO refers for information about the topic.

The preliminary plan will move to Grove City Council for its review and approval.

More:From Waste to Resources: Everyone can help divert waste from landfill

The overall goal is to attract businesses and companies that recycle and reuse materials to help SWACO's effort to divert waste away from the landfill, said Jeff Wilkins, SWACO's director of administration.

SWACO adopted a solid-waste management plan in 2018 that included a goal of increasing the region's diversion rate from 50 to 75% by the year 2032.

To help meet that goal, SWACO will target companies and facilities for the industrial park that fall within "a supply chain for postconsumer, as well as postindustrial, waste," Wilkins said.

An example of "a home run we'd like to see" for the Grove City development is a company with an operation similar to Timbertech in Wilmington, Ohio, he said.

That company uses PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastics to manufacture decking and fencing boards, Wilkins said. 

The company has a reclaimer and preprocessor arm called Azek that processes the PET plastic that comes to the facility to create flakes and resins, he said.

"We feel we can create a comparative advantage by bringing that supply chain to one location," Wilkins said. "Our goal is not just to attract businesses to our business park but to the whole Columbus region."

Some businesses might be "too intense" for the Grove City site but could be appropriate for another central Ohio location, he said.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio is proposing the Circular Economy Business Park, an industrial park it plans to develop on a 362-acre site across from the landfill on London-Groveport Road.

The name SWACO is giving the proposed industrial park – Circular Economy – refers to the goal of attracting companies that recycle or reuse materials they generate rather than sending them to the landfill and finding a balance between first-, second- and third-stage users, said Drew Russell, landscape architect for Edge Group, the company providing SWACO with land-planning and landscape-architecture services for the project.

The actual users that could be part of the industrial park will not be determined until a final development plan is submitted, he said.

But the goal will be to attract companies that use their recycled products to create some type of manufactured product, Russell said.

The preliminary development-plan application is the first step in a project that ultimately would result in establishing a roadway network and the delineation of pods for prospective building sites, case manager Kendra Spergel said. 

More details will be provided during the rezoning application, which will require a zoning text with specific development standards and the final development plans, which will be submitted per site, she said.

"The applicant has indicated the goal of the site is to help SWACO increase their diversion rates by attracting users that will use materials that would have gone to the landfill," Spergel said. 

Many of those potential users have negative issues associated with their operations, including odors, noises and visual elements, she said.

Staff recommend that any future rezoning application and zoning text establish standards to help mitigate those potential impacts on adjacent properties, Spergel said. 

Another stipulation is that the applicant work with the city to establish percentages across the site for first-, second- and third-stage facilities to create a balance of diverse users, she said.

The commission approved the preliminary development plan with the stipulations.

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