New truck service center receives initial OK

Dayton Freight Lines Inc. has more than 60 cross dock truck service centers in the Midwest, and it wants to build one in Seymour.

To accomplish that goal, the Dayton, Ohio-based company first had to request a rezone of the property in the 700 block of South Commerce Drive on the city’s far east side from C-1 (neighborhood commercial) to I-2 (heavy industrial).

The 21.59-acre property currently is owned by Miller Real Estate LLC, according to the Jackson County GIS map.

During a meeting Thursday night, the Seymour Plan Commission gave the proposal a favorable recommendation on an 8-0 vote. Members Gary Colglazier, Dave Eggers and Angie Klakamp were absent.

The final stamp of approval will have to come from the Seymour City Council during its next meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in the training room upstairs at the police station, 205 N. Ewing St., Seymour.

Attorney Eric Olson spoke on behalf of Dayton Freight Lines via phone during Thursday’s meeting.

“I’ve worked with this company since 2005. They are a great neighbor. They are respectable and responsible, and they build a very nice, brand-new, clean facility,” he said. “They run clean trucks during respectable hours and honestly are the best client I’ve ever had because they are such a good partner in every way.”

Olson told the commission he thinks Seymour would be really happy to have the company as a partner in the community.

“I ask that you approve and let us have our shot in front of the city council and see if we can get this all the way through,” he said in his closing statements before the commission voted.

According to daytonfreight.com, the company was founded by Thomas L. Cronin Jr. in 1981 with a union-free, customer-driven business model and has established itself as a high-performance less than load regional carrier. LTL is a type of freight shipping used for the transportation of small freight or when freight doesn’t require the use of an entire trailer.

Olson said locally, Dayton Freight Lines has facilities in Indianapolis; Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Dayton.

He said the service center will not be a 24-hour facility, so traffic won’t be disturbing people.

When commission President Jeri Wells asked if anyone was at the meeting to speak in favor of the rezoning, Eddie Murphy, president of SpaceGuard Products, stepped up to the podium. His facility is adjacent to where Dayton Freight Lines wants to put its service center.

While he said he supports the rezoning, Murphy told the commission he’s concerned that South Commerce Drive can’t safely handle the current truck traffic.

“You cannot get two trucks simultaneously past each other on that road,” Murphy said of the road that also has three hotels, a manufactured home business, a trailer dealership, a new commercial tire sales and service center, a waste collection and disposal center and more.

“I just hope that the commission and city council can eventually make sure that something’s properly done to support the growth that’s happening along that roadway, but we do support the rezone,” Murphy said.

Commission member Rick Schleibaum said the area of Tipton Street and Commerce Drive near Travel Centers of America is “a really awful intersection” for a semi to navigate to get onto the frontage road that runs parallel to Interstate 65.

“We’re looking at the property, not the roads, but I’m not sure how they fix that,” he said.

The additional industrial traffic is something that really needs to be considered, Murphy said.

“We’ve looked at purchasing land from adjacent owners off (U.S.) 31 behind us to try to work a thruway to our property and Miller’s property. There’s no really good way to do it unfortunately the way that the parcels sit right now,” he said. “There are some drainage issues that go through there, as well.”

City Engineer Bernie Hauersperger said he recently met with Mayor Matt Nicholson, Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray and Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Jim Plump to talk about South Commerce Drive not being able to hold up to heavy truck traffic.

“That is a critical issue,” he said. “It needs widened desperately, and even like Rick said, doing something at the TA, it might take a little bit of some tricky engineering. … I think those are all problems that we can solve. The mayor and RDC (redevelopment commission) and Jim Plump, they are all on board with making this a first-class road for these businesses that are on this road. It’s probably time to start planning for that.”

Hauersperger asked Olson about the company’s time frame on construction, and Olson said it will be four to seven years before that starts, so that gives the city time to address the roadway.

As for the drainage issues on the property, Hauersperger said Dayton Freight Lines is working with an engineer to include multiple acres of detention facilities on the south end.

While Dayton Freight Lines may not have drainage problems, SpaceGuard Products could be impacted even more than it already is, commission member Mark Hays said.

“It’s a real problem,” he said. “It’s going to be a tricky thing to drain this property because Sandy Branch has no ingress, and you can’t get rid of the water because it goes through the wildlife refuge.”

He suggested Olson ensure the project’s engineers are aware of that.

“I’m in support of what you’re wanting to do, but I want to make you aware that the drainage is going to be real creative,” Hays said.

Hauersperger said when the roadway is redone, a storm system may be placed in the 700 block of South Commerce Drive to help with drainage.

”It’s pretty much underground drainage for that whole corridor from U.S. 50 all the way back to here,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s needed right now for our rezoning, but I think we know what we need to do. I’m just tickled that we might get this facility here. It’s a win for Seymour, I think.”