Plan to remove buffer between homes and new warehouse upsets residents

Company’s Hamilton property expansion tabled as it tries to find solution with neighbors.

The Hamilton Planning Commission put on hold a decision allowing a company’s proposed new facility construction so the business can talk with neighbors about how to potentially block the new building from their view.

MORE: Hamilton’s trendiest office real estate located on upper floors of older buildings

Owners of homes south of Hamilton Mason Road and north of Tylersville Road, near Hamilton Enterprise Park Drive, urged the planning board to go against JWF Technologies’ plan to remove part of a buffer zone of trees between themselves and the proposed facility at 3095 Moser Court.

Litchenberg & Sons Construction wants to build a 55,000-square-foot facility for JWF, including manufacturing facilities, offices and warehousing on eight acres that now are an empty field.

JWF, now located in Fairfield, specializes in hydraulics, gas springs (which work like elastic springs except they use compressed gas to store energy), pneumatic devices and other custom-made products.

MORE: Global healthcare company hiring at Hamilton facility

JWF plans to have 41 employees when it opens the Hamilton facility. It plans to build a 44,000-square-foot facility in perhaps five to 20 years, at which time it would need to reduce the buffer area that blocks the view from some neighbors.

Here is the area in Hamilton where JWF Technologies plans a new manufacturing/warehouse/office space (in red).
Here is the area in Hamilton where JWF Technologies plans a new manufacturing/warehouse/office space (in red).

Several residents of North Gilmore Road urged that the buffer area be preserved. An organization of residents — Gilmore Area Preservation — in 1996 signed a 20-year memorandum of understanding with city officials that would preserve the buffer zone and uphold other conditions in the industrial area. That pact had a 20-year option for renewal, but it was not renewed before it expired in early 2017.

Residents argued the city should behave as if the 20-year extension had happened and require the buffer zone remain. The city no longer owns the land.

ExploreMORE: ‘We’re not selling apartments. We’re selling Hamilton,' developer of mixed-use project says

Barbara Yeary, one of the residents, said she learned of the proposed construction only Sunday evening and, “I would just like the opportunity to review those plans,” she said, noting the proposed building is surrounded by “lovely homes.”

Charles Begley Jr., told the planning commission, “this building will be seen right outside my kitchen window, my pool,” and if new trees are planted when the second phase is constructed, it will take decades for them to fill out and block the view, he said.

The situation is annoying, Begley said, because, “We were there first.”

Also, “Nobody contacted me to tell me the 20 years was up” on the 1996 agreement, Begley said.

ExploreMORE: Hamilton honors veteran from trailblazing group of Marines

Dale McAllister, who was serving as chairman of the Hamilton Planning Commission on Monday, suggested perhaps a new buffer can be created now, before the existing one is removed — an idea Begley said he found unacceptable. McAllister suggested the neighbors could plant trees on their own properties as a visual screen.

JWF Technologies owner Dom DiPilla said he was willing to meet soon with the neighbors. He told them: “If I’d have known that buffer was there, I’d have never looked at that property.”

Part of the reason is it will be very difficult to build the second, 44,000-square-foot building and keep the buffer zone, DiPilla said.

The commission voted 5-0 to table the matter until a June meeting to give the company and neighbors a chance to work out a solution.