CHESTERVILLE — Chester Township Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 12 to amend the zoning map and approve the Planned Unit Development (PUD), which paves the way for the Rock’s Edge Development proposed at the I-71/State Route 95 interchange.
The land where the proposed development is located is owned by Rockwell and Krista Bonecutter. The Bonecutters are best known for the Bonecutter Plaza at the interchange, which houses the 8 Sisters Bakery, Bonecutter Car Wash, Bonecutter Laundromat, and a Tesla Charging Station. The area had been zoned industrial and needed the zoning changes and PUD to allow for a mixed use development of industrial, commercial and residential to be built.
It will be located on what was formerly known as Morrow Meadows which the Bonecutters purchased from Jack Fishburn. Current Morrow County Zoning did not have a zoning plan for this type of development in place nor did Chester Township Zoning. The Chester Township Zoning Board had to develop the PUD essentially from scratch. A PUD ensures that a developer can only build what has been agreed to in the manor it has been agreed to by the trustees.
Over the course of approximately 18 months the Chester Township Zoning Board crafted the document with multiple reviews and revisions by their legal counsel, Tom Burton of the law firm of Renwick, Welsh and Burton in Mansfield. The PUD went to Chester Township Trustees for final approval.
Community concerns and questions expressed at Tuesday’s Trustee meeting had largely already been answered previously at a special meeting held on Jan. 29 including increased crime due to the proposed development.
“We are looking to the future already with the Sheriff’s Office. In the five or 10 years that it will take for this [development] to happen, my goal is to have four deputies on every shift. I do not see an issue with patrolling the area,” Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton said at that meeting.
At the trustees meeting County Auditor Pat Davies addressed the issue of taxes.
“Will this development impact your taxes? He starts to build houses and the residential value of this begins to grow. Levies can only collect at a certain amount. The tax rate didn’t change but the value grew. That means your taxes are actually factored down. So he is adding to your community in that way. It lowers your piece of the tax bill.”
Highland School Board President Loren Altizer also liked what he heard.
“This plan is unique and gives us a good mix and good balance, from our perspective. It creates a tax base that goes back to your schools,” Altizer said.
Jeff Stuttler, owner and operator of Heritage House Bed & Breakfast, who is also a local realtor with Century 21, shared his perspective.
“We have a housing shortage. This is a well-thought-out plan. I think it ties in our needs as a rural community, but also as an up and coming destination spot.”
Debbie Snell, owner of Chesterville Grocery, agreed.
“We need growth. These are good people (the Bonecutters). If not them, it will be somebody else. I would rather it be someone who cares about the community.”
Following public comment, the Bonecutters shared their vision for the development.
“Rock and I are grateful to the many people that came out to support us. But the real work starts now as we build our first apartments and new retail/office building. The coming years will bring challenges and we are blessed to have a community that is eager to help with ideas and commitment to this project” Krista Bonecutter said.
According to the Bonecutters, Rock’s Edge will be built in phases over a 10- to 15-year period. They are hoping to break ground in the spring for Phase 1 of the development, which will include a commercial building and 32 apartments.
“We have had several businesses reach out to us already and are working with the owners now to create space for each specific needs. We will be leasing space and the first building is already close to rented out, which is encouraging,” she said.
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