At its first meeting of 2016, Delaware City Council unanimously approved rezoning Howald Industrial Park.
Previously zoned as general manufacturing, the nearly 28-acre park — bounded by London Road and Toledo Street — will now be zoned to general manufacturing with a planned mixed-use overlay district to allow for multiple uses.
“This is a good night for us. It’s been a long time coming,” said David Efland, the city’s planning and community development director, at council’s meeting Monday. “John (Howald) has taken a piece of property that was difficult and really turned it into something that is a benefit to our community, produces jobs at a variety of businesses that does not fit any one zoning category.”
Efland said he’s been working with park owner Howald for 10 years on the rezoning.
“A lot of the uses are heavy manufacturing on this site, but a lot of the uses bridge onto light industrial and commercial uses, and will continue to do so,” Efland said.
The industrial park will be divided into four sub-areas as part of the zoning. Each sub-area would have different land uses.
Sub-area A, in the northern portion, would remain as a manufacturing zone, along with fenced parking and storage of semi-tractor trailers and equipment.
Sub-areas B-D would be used for manufacturing and general business. The center of the site is sub-area B, and is where the park’s six existing buildings are located. The portion adjacent to the existing CSX railroad tracks is sub-area C. Currently vacant, a 41,668 square-foot building and parking lot is proposed. The main entrance drive along London Road is sub-area D, and two future buildings totaling more than 58,000 square feet are proposed.
“It would allow the area to be reconfigured and provide a full campus-like area for all of John’s property,” Efland said.
Formerly known as Marvin Industrial Park, the site once had a general casting foundry that has since been demolished and remediated by Howald.
As part of the rezoning, a bike path will be constructed from the vacated railroad right of way on the northeastern portion of the site to the south end of Tod Street.
“This zoning will provide for an easement to get up to Tod Street, as well as put into motion a payment by John to us that would offset the cost of making that extension,” Efland said. “This gets us over the difficulty of how do you get over the active railroad tracks.”
“I’m thankful to be here and get to the point of moving forward,” Howald said before council’s vote. “It’s been a long drawn-out process, but I think actually the idea of making it four sub-markets really makes the most sense overall for the use. As we go through the years renting to the different to the different types of companies, we realize there’s a wide spectrum of people showing up to lease, and they’re not all industrial or commercial, so this is a better plan than we would have had 10 years ago.”
Howald said the space is full, with a waiting list. One building is being renovated and will be up to code by April. He said some of the tenants are seeking more exposure from the road.
“I for one would like to thank you for all the work you’ve done in cleaning it up,” Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said to Howald. “It looks so much nicer than it used to. I’ve seen you over the years on that backhoe.”