Distribution centers will not be banned at Warren County interchange

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Property owners, developers opposed change at I-71, Ohio 123

Warren County will permit distribution centers and warehousing depots around the Interstate 71 and Ohio 123 interchange.

The Turtlecreek Twp. trustees had asked the commissioners to prohibit these two uses, as well as truck terminals, around the interchange where development of a Flying J Truck Stop prompted years of disputes and litigation. The trustees hope to attract office or manufacturing developments and limit the number of trucks added to local roads.

But the commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday not to make the change to zoning regulations after developers and owners of about 300 acres affected by the proposed changes opposed them.

Due to potential problems for the owners, the commissioners rejected changing the uses permitted on the land “unless it’s an extraordinary circumstance,” Commissioner Dave Young said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Truck terminals will remain among prohibited uses, but distribution centers and warehousing depots will be allowed.

A week ago, the commissioners delayed a decision on the proposed changes to zoning regulations that also affect agritourism and other land uses in unincorporated areas of the county.

They delayed a decision on the proposed changes after discussing the implications with Trustee Jon Sams and representatives from the Schueler Group and Ken Natorp, two developers controlling most of the land in an economic development district established around the interchange.

“We know there are competing factors,” Sams said during the discussion a week ago.

There was no one from the township at Tuesday’s meeting. None of the property owners or developers spoke.

At the Nov. 29 meeting, Joe Kramer of the Schueler Group pointed to new distribution centers opening in the area, as more and more retailers rely on sale of goods sold over the internet. He said they created “hundreds if not thousands of jobs.”

While historically relatively low paying, Kramer said the jobs came with health insurance and other benefits and wages were rising in response to increased demand for workers in this sector.

The distribution centers will be permitted through a conditional use process overseen by the county’s board of zoning appeals.

“They do need to be controlled,” Kramer said.

Warehousing depot plans would continue to be reviewed by staff and the commissioners.

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