By Kristin Bednarski
Officials with Huhtamaki, a global specialty product packaging manufacturer, are closer to making a decision about if they will locate their company in Batavia Township.
Batavia Township trustees approved zoning-related requests including landscaping and parking recommendations for the proposed location at the former Ford plant during a special meeting Dec. 21.
Rex Parsons, Batavia Township administrator, said trustees reviewed the site plan and approved recommendations, including landscaping specifics for the building as well as plans for a parking area to accommodate additional vehicles.
Parsons said they also discussed including a wall structure to separate Huhtamaki from University of Cincinnati’s UC East.
“There were a couple of landscaping and parking issues we passed,” Parsons said. “There were some recommendations the staff came up with.”
Andy Kuchta, director of Clermont County Community and Economic Development, said the process was part of the overall zoning approval necessary for the company to move into the plant.
Kuchta said the company will not be closing before the end of the year, but they are getting closer to a decision.
“They are still working out some of the final details on the improvements to be made,” Kuchta said about the process.
Kuchta said he has been working with officials from the company since December of 2011.
In October, Batavia Township trustees and Batavia Local School District Board of Education members supported tax abatement legislation for the company.
Kuchta said the company received the incentives because they are planning on making nearly $27 million worth of improvements if they come to the plant.
Kuchta said simply having the company move into the plant will increase the property tax value from approximately $104,000 to $260,000.
“The biggest benefit is it is going to bring 237 jobs back to the county,” Kuchta previously said about the company. “Great manufacturing jobs that will be available for people who might have been laid off by another company.”
Kuchta said the county, township, school board and other tenants in the former Ford plant have been working together with official from Huhtamaki, especially recently.
“There has been a lot of communication in the past week and a half,” Kutchta said. “The project is firing at all cylinders.”
Kuchta said although they will not close before the end of the year, he is hopeful a decision will be made soon.
“From a regulatory standpoint, all the incentive packages have been approved from the local and state levels,” Kuchta said. “They have all the zoning approved. There is nothing standing in the way of the parcel being purchased.”
Kuchta said now it is a matter of working out minor details and the company making a final decision.
“We’re very hopeful we’ll start off 2013 with some great news on this project,” Kuchta said.