Vandalia residents push hard against huge warehouse proposal

City council’s final decision on the proposed 1 million square-foot building is expected Aug. 1.

VANDALIA — There was a full house at Monday’s meeting of Vandalia City Council, with many residents in attendance to voice their opposition to a proposed 1 million square-foot warehouse on 67 acres of vacant land off Northwoods Boulevard.

Vandalia’s planning commission declined to recommend conditional-use approval of the project in a meeting late last month, citing issues with permit requirements for the land, which is zoned office/industrial park.

The developer, Ambrose Property Group, submitted a proposal to the city for the construction of an up to 1.05 million square-foot warehouse facility with ancillary offices on the 67-acre site, located north of Halifax Drive, west of Cassel Road.

A warehouse use for this parcel of land is conditionally permitted based on a set of criteria, according to the city’s zoning code, said City Manager Dan Wendt. Conditional use projects must adhere to requirements considerate of surrounding property, residents, traffic, and utilities.

According to Wendt, the conditional use request is part of the developer’s due diligence process, and the land is currently owned by CSX railroad. No potential end user has been announced.

Council is set to make a final decision regarding the request during a meeting on Aug. 1.

More than a dozen residents Monday called for council to follow the determination of planning commission and deny the conditional use permit.

“I think the question is not so much can this be done, but should this be done? Should we severely infringe upon the way of life and the wellbeing of so many folks in my neighborhood — along Halifax and Cassel — to build a warehouse?” said John Workman of Londonberry Drive, citing the vacant parcel’s current vegetation and wildlife as a valued facet of the area.

Resident Carol Lutz, whose home is located on the edge of the wooded area on Halifax Drive, brought up concerns of noise and air pollution.

“Think about 246 trucks leaving their engines running for over 30 minutes at a time; consider that noise, but more importantly, that pollution just 400 feet from your yard, from your bedroom window, from your outside comfort zone,” Lutz said. “That is what we will have to live with if you vote yes to allow warehouses to be built in the Northwoods area.”

Resident Lesley Madden, who lives in the 400 block of Halifax Drive, echoed these concerns. She said her son has asthma, a condition she fears could be exacerbated by diesel exhaust pollution.

Madden became emotional when speaking Monday, explaining the reaction her daughter had to the warehouse proposal.

“My daughter, who’s 10, looked at me and said, ‘Where are all the animals going to live? Where are all the birds that you feed going to live?’ ” Madden said before asking council, “What is more important to you? The lives of the people that live here in this town or a giant warehouse?”

The Dayton area has seen a warehouse-building boom in recent years as the logistics industry capitalizes on the large swath of the country that can be quickly reached from the I-75 / I-70 interchange.

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