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Port Authority seeks to rezone Waterville property

Posted By: mlive on February 1, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


A property off Neapolis Waterville Road in Waterville could soon be slated for rezoning, the city of Waterville has announced.

The property, 48.56 acres located at 8275 Neapolis Waterville Rd., was bought by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in November and they are seeking a rezoning from A-1 Agricultural to M-1 Light Industrial District.

A public hearing on the zoning matter will be held at 7:30 pm on April 10 in Waterville city council chambers.

Joe Cappel, the Port Authority’s vice president of business development, said the zoning process is a simple one because of the proximity of the property to Farnsworth Industrial Park, which sits on an adjacent plot.

“There are some existing businesses in the business park that might have an opportunity to expand in the future,” he said Monday. “This could help them to do that. There is also room for new businesses who are similar to come on site there and help increase employment opportunities in the city of Waterville.”

Mr. Cappel said Waterville reached out to the Port Authority about the prospect of having them purchase the land last fall, and the Port Authority requested to have the land rezoned to match the Farnsworth Industrial Park. The park was conceived and incorporated in 1980 on property that had originally been part of the W.G. Farnsworth Orchards.

The Port Authority would put some basic infrastructure on property like roads and utilities, Mr. Cappel said, and the organization would also offer financial services, like its bond fund, in order to help businesses that locate there.

“This is something the administration of the city of Waterville envisioned — that business park growing,” he said.

Waterville Mayor Tim Pedro said that his city had had an eye on using that property for a while.

“Way back when we were a village, there was an organization that helped develop the industrial park where there are buildings and manufacturing,” Mr. Pedro said Tuesday. “That has always been a logical area for expansion.

“There is really no other way for those companies to grow except for in that general area,” Mr. Pedro said of businesses like Surface Combustion and Kaufman Engineered Systems, located in the industrial park, which he described as good citizens and business partners.

Still, a big draw on Mr. Pedro’s mind is the jobs that the project can only create.

“A lot of times folks might not understand that when a job is created in Waterville, and you have a house that is built in Waterville, it is not apples to oranges,” he said. “We need to have a balance of businesses in our community and quite frankly we need to have businesses where our young graduates want to stay in our community to be engineers, mechanical plumbing engineers, and technicians at some of those businesses.”

The process of making a zoning request is mostly up to the applicant not the city, Mr. Pedro said.

Mr. Cappel said he does not know of any opposition to the rezoning but acknowledged there might be some.

“As we are preparing to talk to businesses about locating there and so on, we will probably continue to farm that property until the point that someone is ready to break ground,” he said, mentioning that if there is any opposition, it can be voiced at the April 10 hearing. “Farming is a good way to lease the property to someone so that they produce crops. You generate a little bit of revenue but you are also maintaining the land.

“Most people will not notice a difference because it will be same type of activity that has always taken place there,” he said.

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