Richard Oaks speaks against zoning change at Dayton Plan Board meeting in February. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

City approves airport zoning change over objections

The city of Dayton has approved rezoning 157 acres of vacant land by the airport despite strong objections from some people.

The city commission this week unanimously approved designating some land west of the Dayton International Airport as airport district zoning, which officials say will help its redevelopment.

But a couple of people who live or own property near the site say the city is making a mistake because the development is going to negatively affect its neighbors.

The opponents last month clashed with a couple of Dayton Plan board members over the zoning request.

RELATED: Dayton airport development sparks clash with Plan Board, residents

The city has owned the property between Dog Leg Road and Union Park Boulevard since 1993, but the city annexed the land from Butler Twp just recently.

Annexed property in Dayton is given the default zoning designation of suburban single-family residential, which is inappropriate for this land because of its location adjacent to the airport and the funding used to purchase the land prohibits its use as residential, said Ann Schenking, chief planner and secretary to Dayton City Plan Board.

RELATED: Dayton considers land sale, development deal at airport

Last month, Dayton commissioners approved a purchase option agreement for the land with NorthPoint Development.

NorthPoint has built a 570,000-square-foot facility by the airport that is occupied by Spectrum Brands, and the firm is constructing another massive facility next to it. The projects are creating many new jobs.

The airport district zoning is compatible with the surrounding properties, and the highest and best use of the land will be industrial, said Suzanne Beck, general counsel for the airport.

But Vandalia resident Richard Oaks asked the commission this week to deny the zoning change.

He said the city should work with other jurisdictions to study the impact of the land’s redevelopment on traffic, infrastructure and water runoff before granting any approvals.

Oaks said the city commission should not be short-sighted, and he’s worried that new development will put a major strain on the roadways around the property. He also said he’s worried about stormwater runoff from the development harming surrounding properties.

Attorney Jonathan Zweizig said the city has not been transparent with its intended use for the annexed land and should have to demonstrate how that land use will serve an airport purpose.

Zweizig, who was speaking on behalf citizen Paul Thies, claims the city is going to be in violation of its own zoning code if it turns the land over to NorthPoint.

He says that’s because only the city can own land that is zoned airport district.

City officials stressed that their task is simply to properly rezone newly annexed land.

They said any building plans for the site will have to comply with city and Montgomery County regulations. Officials said potential economic development projects will have to get city approvals.

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