Warren County commissioners, concerned a sexually-oriented business could follow a Flying J truck stop to the Ohio 123-Interstate-71 interchange, approved a long list of prohibited uses Tuesday for the rest of the land around the interchange.
Flying J will be allowed to develop a travel center for truckers and other motorists, but other truck stops - along with sexually-oriented businesses, tattoo parlors, shooting ranges, putt putt golf courses, driving ranges and more than 30 other uses - will be prohibited in 30 days, when the amendment approved Tuesday takes effect.
Commissioner Dave Young said the commissioners needed to act now on changes to the overlay for the the 380-acre Joint Economic Development District to keep out strip clubs or other sexually-oriented businesses.
Residents opposed to the Flying J plan, on a 10-acre piece just east of the interchange, have warned county officials that sexually-oriented businesses can follow truck stops.
“Guess what? It’s allowed,” Young said during Tuesday’s public hearing on the changes.
Other than the $9 million Flying J, other development in the district is to be commercial or office parks.
On Tuesday, the commissioners also changed the overlay language amendment to allow mega-churches, contrary to the recommendation from the county staff and boards that have worked since March on the list of prohibited uses. Officials said such church facilities create traffic problems, but the commissioners felt the prohibition was unduly restrictive for religious institutions.
In a letter sent Monday, Flying J urged the commissioners to deny the amendment, so the company could weigh in on the prohibited uses before the list was set. Company representatives said prohibiting uses could hurt the property value and limit their expansion at the interchange.
After the meeting, Lance Champion, project manager for Flying J, said the company was satisfied by an amendment, added Tuesday, grandfathering them in ahead of the prohibitions.
The county and Flying J are in litigation over the conditions of the development, but company officials said they still plan to open a travel center — made possible in part by the company’s $500,000 contribution toward a $2.6 million sewer line needed to provide utilities to the joint economic development district planned along both sides of I-71 at Ohio 123 - northeast of Lebanon. A neighbor group, Citizens for Responsible Development, also is contesting the Flying J plan in court.
The county commissioners also urged officials from Lebanon and Turtlecreek Twp. to form the board needed to oversee the district. Otherwise “it all falls on us,” Commissioner Pat South said.
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