Canal Winchester City Council approves NorthPoint rezoning

·3 min read
Canal Winchester municipal building
Canal Winchester municipal building

A Kansas City developer received approval to expand its footprint in Canal Winchester following months of discussion and opposition from residents who want rapid industrial growth to slow in the community.

City Council voted 5-2 on Jan. 18 to rezone approximately 70 acres at the intersection of Bixby and Rager roads and U.S. Route 33 from rural to limited manufacturing.

The vote was another hurdle for the NorthPoint Development Inc. project, which includes two industrial structures, each more than 500,000 square feet.

NorthPoint has been behind a series of warehouse and industrial projects in the Rickenbacker International Airport area in recent years, including two 430,000-square-foot warehouses already constructed on 110 acres along Bixby Road known as Canal Crossing.

The new buildings would be the second phase of Canal Crossing.

“I do truly think that with the development of our first two buildings, this is the appropriate land use,” NorthPoint Development Chief Marketing Officer Brent Miles told City Council prior to the vote. “I know you have a big debate in your city. What does your city become in the future? … I don’t live here. I don’t vote here. But I do want to invest here.”

The $90 million investment will create 300 jobs and $14 million in payroll, Miles said.

Northpoint presented to council an amended design that includes smaller buildings; $1 million to widen 3,000 feet of Bixby Road; $500,000 to improve the Bixby Road and Winchester Pike intersection, with an additional right-turn lane; $500,000 for improvements at Winchester Pike and Gender Road; and construction of an eight-foot landscaped berm to partially block the sight of truck docks along Bixby Road, west of the site.

Councilwoman Jill Amos, who voted against the rezoning, wanted NorthPoint to return to the Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission so it could review the amended changes.

“We need responsible development,” she said.

Ashley Ward, one of three new council members, also voted no.

The land, located in Madison Township, is owned by Dale and Teresa Schacht. Their attorney, Richard Ricketts, told council before the vote that the city has an opportunity to control its destiny.

If City Council were to deny the rezoning request, the property could be annexed into the city of Columbus, which also is adjacent to the Bixby Road development.

“This property is going to be developed, and the question is, is it going to be developed in Canal Winchester or is it going to be developed in the city of Columbus?” Ricketts asked. “Canal Winchester needs to control this property.”

Residents, including Trish Preston, expressed concerns ahead of the vote.

“All of you on this council were voted in by the people of Canal Winchester, and you need to listen to the people who put you in those seats,” she said. “They’re telling you, ‘No more warehouses.’”

Council Vice President Bob Clark said the vote was the most important he’s seen during his six years on council because it blocks Columbus from annexing land near Canal Winchester.

“They will annex this in a New York minute,” he said.

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This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Canal Winchester City Council approves NorthPoint rezoning

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