BG Council poised to approve industrial zoning of 131 acres on Nims Road

By Peter Kuebeck, [email protected]

Bowling Green Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended that council approve an annexation of more than 131 acres into the city, as well as interim zoning for the property.

The property has the potential to be used for industrial development in the future.

The approximately 131.09 acres are located on Nims Road in Center Township, with some frontage on Ohio 25. The petitioner for the annexation and the interim zoning is Maurer Family Farms LLC.

According to an informational packet prepared for the commission by Planning Director Heather Sayler, the annexation petition was approved by the Wood County Board of Commissioners in November and forwarded to the city for its review process.

Sayler wrote that “under the Center Township Zoning Resolution, this parcel is zoned A Agricultural, which corresponds with the city’s A-1 Agricultural zoning classification. While I am required to recommend A-1 for the parcels, the commission is able to recommend any zoning classification. Bowling Green Economic Development has received interest in the parcel many times over the past several years and has requested the M-2 General Industrial zoning classification.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, it was noted that the annexation is a proactive step in anticipation of future development.

Kati Thompson, director of Bowling Green Economic Development, said that over the past year, Jobs Ohio – the state’s economic development arm – has looked at sites in communities around Ohio, and provided action items to improve those sites’ readiness.

“Companies are really concerned about timeline and speed to market,” Thompson said, “and this is one thing we could get done in advance.”

The commission unanimously recommended council approve the annexation, as well as unanimously recommending the M-2 zoning for the site.

City council is set to hold a special meeting Thursday to consider the annexation and zoning requests.

In other business, the commission recommended that council approve a request for a street vacating for an unimproved portion of Gould Street, between South Enterprise Street and Railroad Avenue. The petitioners are John Walker and Julie Ann Stevens, Stephen and Carla Meredith, David Codding on behalf of Rail View Properties, and Vicky Valentine-Adler on behalf of Lawnview Rentals LLC.

In the informational packet, Sayler noted that the portion of Gould Street in question is about 60 feet wide and the petitioners all own adjoining properties. Their petition states that each of the current or previous lot owners have performed all maintenance and repair of this area for more than 40 years.

People are driving, walking and otherwise trespassing through the properties, in many cases leaving ruts and debris that is put to the lot owners to repair and maintain, the petitioners said. There have been numerous cases, some involving the police, they said.

“We are requesting that Gould be vacated between South Enterprise and Railroad Avenue and be apportioned equally to each of the four lot owners so that each may secure, protect, and have beneficial use of this area,” they said.

Sayler wrote that the planning department requested comments from a number of city departments which could be impacted by the vacation and they indicated that vacating the alley would have no impact to their operations.

Sayler did point out a few issues, including that the utilities department did indicate that an easement would need to be maintained for existing utilities; that maintaining the right of way could be advantageous, as it could provide additional access and improved traffic flow if the area were ever to be redeveloped in the future; that two buildings on Gould Street would need to be re-assigned addresses because the only frontage would be on Railroad Street.

The commission voted 5-1 to recommend that council approve the request. Members Bob McOmber, Tom Stalter, Nate Spitler, Judy Ennis, and Joe Phillips voted in favor. Member Will Airhart voted against.

Council is to hold a public hearing on the matter.