The long-debated zoning for a piece of land in Rossford has once again come to the forefront.
City Council voted 6-0 last month to keep the parcel on Lime City Road near Mandell Road zoned agricultural, much to the dismay of Mayor Neil MacKinnon, who is eyeing it for development.
He invited zoning administrator Mark Zuchowski and developer Dallas Paul to a recent meeting, hoping council would reconsider. Following a 45-minute presentation and discussion, council agreed to bring back the ordinance proposal seeking a zoning change to industrial and commercial. The vote will occur at Wednesday’s 6 p.m. council meeting.
“Rossford needs jobs,” said Mayor MacKinnon. “None of us here made the rules; we inherited our structure. The city of Rossford is run on income tax dollars. That’s just a fact.”
The property is 200 to 300 acres and surrounded by industrial zoning. Its proximity to I-75 and I-80/90 is a lure to developers.
Mr. Paul is a developer for NAI Harmon Group, which has invested nearly $200 million in Rossford in recent years. He said developers usually want proper zoning in place before moving forward.
“To leave it the way it is, anyone with a vision or a plan is going to go to another community,” Mr. Paul said. “The city of Rossford has the opportunity to lay the foundation so you can be the economic driver in northwest Ohio 20 years from now.”
Several residents have spoken out against the change, suggesting housing should go in that space. The mayor said residential developers have made it clear they aren’t interested.
Councilman Robert Ruse said a school and church are close to the area, which may not be suited for heavy traffic. He’d also like to see a more detailed plan for the parcel.
“When I look at all the pieces, it’s tough for me to say I want to see a factory go next to that,” he said. “I see it as a mixed bag with mixed messages on where we’re going. I have no intent to reconsider [my vote].”
Councilman Larry Oberdorf said the first vote could have gone much differently had the presentation been made at that time. “To leave this land agricultural is not of any benefit to Rossford,” he said. “This is an opportunity to grow jobs and revenue.”
Much has been made of the poor condition of Lime City Road and its ability to handle truck traffic. Mayor MacKinnon said the city can force any developer to pay for improvements, and said safety is his “number one concern.”
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