The first Delaware City Council meeting of 2016 will feature a public hearing on the long-awaited rezoning of Howald Industrial Park.
The hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St.
If approved, the nearly 28-acre park — bounded by London Road and Toledo Street — would be rezoned from general manufacturing zoning to general manufacturing with a planned mixed-use overlay district. Officials have said the rezoning has been 10 years in the making.
The city of Delaware’s planning commission unanimously approved the rezoning of Howald at its December meeting. David Efland, planning and community development director, described the park as a heavy manufacturing area that is now in transition.
“It would provide conforming zoning for sites that long have been used for industrial purpose in our community,” Efland said of the rezoning, “and with its passage, also provide for possible future expansion.”
Efland said a master plan of the industrial park would have it 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.
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 Todcorrect spelling Street.
“The zoning also sets into motion several things that are beneficial to the city and the community long-range,” 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.
Efland praised owner John M. Howald for taking property that was in disrepair and who “has spent a lot of time, money and energy cleaning them up and back-filling these sites for a lot of good job-producing uses.”
“Mr. Howald has done a terrific job cleaning that place up,” said planning commission member James Halter. “It’s absolutely phenomenal compared to what it was.”
The city and Howald first entered into a development agreement for the park in 2013.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall. Other business includes appointing members to city boards.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.