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Proposed distribution complex in Seville threatens to upend quiet way of life, residents say

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 19:32:43-04

SEVILLE, Ohio — A proposed distribution complex featuring three large warehouse buildings has drawn the ire of a large contingent of Seville residents who believe the noisy, bustling complex and diesel emissions will upend their quality of life as well as drive down property values.

Proposed by a developer out of Kansas, the complex would be built on what is now rolling farmland near the junction of Interstate 76 and Route 3. It would be located directly adjacent to a residential neighborhood. The zoning dispute came to a head earlier this week when the Village Council unanimously approved granting the developer zoning variances. The council approved the legislation under suspension, meaning that it could be passed on its first reading instead of three readings.

According to development plans provided to the village, the L-shaped distribution complex would wrap around the Royal Crest neighborhood. Although the warehouse buildings themselves would be roughly a football field away from the property lines of the nearby homes, semi-truck parking areas would be a mere 25 feet away from the backyards of several homes. The three warehouse buildings total more than 1.2 million square feet and feature more than 200 dock gates and 300 trailer spaces.

There is also room for expansion to the south and north of the far western warehousing building. The roadways guiding truckers to the warehouse buildings would also be directly adjacent to the residential neighborhood.

“It’s just a really nice quiet community. We’re close-knit around here,” said Claudia Browand, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. “There are a lot of folks, especially in this development, that are older people. They have concerns and their family for them has concerns.”

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A petition passed among people living in the area garnered more than 300 signatures, many of whom packed the village council chambers on Monday. To say they were disappointed on Monday night would be an understatement.

“It was heartbreaking. It was a heartbreaking day. A lot of people put in a lot of work,” Browand said.

The village council unanimously approved legislation granting zoning variances to the developer, including signing off on the developer’s plans for the buildings to come in at 55 feet tall, which is significantly higher than the 35 feet permitted by the village’s zoning code. Another variance granted to the developer is a greater degree of latitude when it comes to the potential for additional variances down the line.

The legislation amended the zoning code to state that the village’s planning and zoning commission “may approve reasonable waivers and accommodations in the zoning code development standards and design principals necessary for the reasonable development of the mixed-use overlay district.”

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There is also a tremendous amount of concern from residents about the noise of dozens of semi-trucks loading and unloading as well as idling potentially at all hours of the day. Neighbors are also skeptical of whether Route 3 can accommodate a significant increase in truck traffic.

“What can we do? We don’t own the property so we can’t argue with [the village] as far as that goes,” said Jimmie Allen, a longtime resident of the Royal Crest neighborhood. “Yeah, I’m frustrated but what can you do about it? We went to the council meeting down at the council hall and argued against it but it didn’t do any good. They OK'd it anyway.”

Browand said the fact that the village council unanimously approved the variances was especially troubling.

“They may have listened but it felt like they already had their mind made up,” Browand said.

News 5 has reached out to Seville Mayor Carol Carter for comment.