“What we have here is a monster,” said Jack Berlekamp of Orange Township, OH. He was referring to developments plans recently unveiled by a Columbus developer that appears to combine the impact of a Home Depot with a Target store. The total project would include a 124,668 s.f. Home Depot, plus an unidentified second anchor store 129,000 s.f. More than 26 acres of land would be gobbled up by this monster, as well as an asphalt parking lot with enough room for 1,124 cars. Another 5 “outlots” would be added to the project. The two superstores are located on land that adjoins the Fox Ridge subdivision, which the local newspaper called a “sore subject” with area residents. The subdivision would be more appropriately named the Home Depot Ridge, because no fox is going to stick around once construction begins. In fact the homeowners will feel more like sheep once they see their residential property values slaughtered. After two hours of public hearings, the Planning Commission recessed the hearing until the end of April. Neighbors expressed concerns about more traffic congestion along U.S. 23S, more noise from the unloading of trucks, and increased light from the parking lot. Many of the neighbors complaining have property lines that back up to the so-called High Park Center project — some as close as 150 to 170 feet from the developer’s property line. The developer has apparently offered to build an 11 foot high mound, topped with trees. But it will be very difficult to buffer a 250,000 s.f. retail project, and harder still to keep nearby residential property values from sliding. “We don’t want the loading docks that close to our back yards,” one neighbor said. The land in question reportedly must be rezoned, and residents are considering either legal action to appeal any rezoning vote made by the town’s Trustees, and/or a referendum to bring the matter to area voters.
The developer declined to identify the second store, telling the Gazette newspaper that the retailer preferred to make the announcement later. But one local resident who said he was a civil engineeer, said the footprint resembles a Target — not that it ultimately matters. The same developer has also brought a Wal-Mart superstore to the other side of U.S. 23S. There is already a Home Depot within 10 miles of this location, and a new Lowe’s building supply store is being constructed within a couple of miles of the proposed Home Depot. Orange Township is reported to be a rapidly growing township, so the residents must be kept well-stocked with hammers.