Zoning-code change would add more potential sites for data centers

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
This is Hilliard's zoning-map index.

After approving a real-estate deal in early November that is expected to result in the construction of another data-center complex for Amazon Web Services, Hilliard officials want to add pathways for more data centers in the city.

Hilliard City Council on Nov. 23 heard the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the zoning code to allow data centers as a permitted use in M-1 restricted-industrial and M-2 general-industrial zoning districts.

The ordinance is scheduled for a second and final reading at the Dec. 14 council meeting.

Currently, data centers are permitted in B-3 and B-4 zoning districts, which are spread out over commercial areas in the city, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

“This legislation permits data centers in our industrial zoned areas," he said. "Data centers are similar to warehouses and offices, which are already permitted in the M-1 zoning district."

Generally, the M-1 district includes property along Reynolds Drive, Northwest Parkway, Leap Road near Anson Drive, Lacon Road near Cemetery Road, Parkway Lane and Scioto Darby Road near Interstate 270, Ball said.

The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission issued a positive recommendation Nov. 12, but City Council has the final say on the matter, Ball said.

City Manager Michelle Crandall asked for the ordinance.

"This amendment permits data centers as an additional allowable use on land zoned M-1, making it more attractive when being marketed to potential developers," Crandall said. "This additional allowable use broadens the potential viable opportunities on the site."

The city does not have any available property zoned M-2, but it has available parcels zoned M-1, Ball said.

On Nov. 9, Hilliard City Council authorized the sale of 104 acres known to Amazon Web Services for $14.76 million. The land is between Cosgray and Leppert roads and south of Hayden Run Road.

Previous story:Hilliard City Council authorizes sale of 104 acres to Amazon

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Amazon already has three data-center facilities at the southeast corner of Britton Parkway and Hayden Run Road.

A fourth is under construction, and Amazon has approval for the construction of a fifth facility, according to economic-development director David Meadows.

When asked about the potential acquisition of the property in October, Lauren Lynch, a spokeswoman for Amazon Web Services, said “AWS has a practice against commenting on our future road map.”

The agreement between Amazon and the city calls for the completion of “due diligence,” approval of a final site plan and closing with 270 days of the approval of the sale, but it does not require construction to begin on any given date, Meadows said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo