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Trustee: Springfield Twp. development could include Kroger Marketplace

A Kroger Marketplace might be coming to Springfield Twp., but at least one trustee said he’s concerned the property can’t be annexed into the city to allow the development and some residents oppose it.

But city leaders cautioned no plans have been submitted so it’s too early to say if there’s problems with the site.

Clark County leaders recently discussed a proposal to annex 2630 Springfield Jamestown Road to build a Kroger Marketplace, a larger store that often includes home goods, furniture and more.

Springfield Twp. Trustee Tim Foley said city officials and members of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce met with him about the idea of building the store several weeks ago.

Kroger continually looks for development opportunities, including in the Springfield area, spokeswoman Patty Leesemann said. But the grocer currently has “no definitive plans for our stores” in Springfield, she said.

An anonymous letter and an email from residents opposed to annexing the 51-acre property was sent to the Springfield News-Sun, Springfield Twp. trustees and county commissioners.

Residents are concerned about increased traffic, congestion, accidents, noise, lighting and the impact on property values, according to the letter.

The letter also says residents worry about whether the road will need to be widened, how water runoff from the parking lot could affect other properties and whether the city or the township would provide emergency services.

The property also isn’t contiguous to the city, Foley said, which if true means it could be considered a string annexation and possibly won’t move forward.

“If it can be annexed the city can do with it what they want. But at this point, the little bit that I know about it, it certainly appears to be a string annexation issue. And if that’s the case … string annexation is not legal,” Foley said.

Foley said he told city officials to review some court cases regarding string annexations.

Springfield Law Director Jerry Strozdas said the Springfield Jamestown Road property is about 1,200 to 1,300 feet from the city limits and has to be made to be contiguous.

There are multiple ways of attaching it to the city, he said, such as owners of properties that are attached to the city requesting annexation of their land.

“But there has been no annexation map drawn. There’s been no decisions made about how to attach that ground to the city so to say that is an unlawful string or unlawful in any sense requires assumptions of facts that there’s things that haven’t been determined,” he said. “It’s way, way too early for anybody to jump to conclusions about lawful or unlawful until they know more about what’s actually being proposed and as of now there’s nothing specific that’s been formally proposed.”

Continual conversations have been had about developing south of Interstate 70 for years, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. He said he couldn’t discuss specific developments because that would be premature.

“I can’t speculate one way or another as to what the possibility is of an end user at this point,” he said.

The area has been identified for potential development, Hobbs said, and is one of the reasons the Cooperative Economic Development Agreement that addresses annexations, utility usage and more was put in place between the township and the city several years.

“That is an area that the township trustees and the city had agreed upon for a development area. The comprehensive land use plan acknowledges that area for development, and so it should not be surprising to anyone that we get inquiries for development in that area. And it should be expected,” Hobbs said.

Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said he’s heard rumors about the project and would support it.

“We need to be more user friendly,” he said. “It’s a changing world and every community has a spider effect or going out particularly near the interstate and that’s why whoever goes out there would be doing it — because you pick up some of those 60,000 cars a day.”

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