Canal Winchester Village Council is expected to vote Jan. 5 on an ordinance to establish commercial development standards for new construction that would streamline the review process for developers with the planning and zoning commission.

Canal Winchester Village Council is expected to vote Jan. 5 on an ordinance to establish commercial development standards for new construction that would streamline the review process for developers with the planning and zoning commission.

Parking lot design and location is a major part of the legislation. The parking lot standards would require designers to place the lots behind a building. There would be a maximum number of parking spots per lot and the lot would include landscaped areas.

"Walmart (6647 Winchester Blvd.) is a great example of what we want to get away from," village development director Chris Strayer said.

Strayer said the proposed new standards for parking lots would make buildings the focal point, not the parking areas.

The proposal also will includes design requirements to break up parking areas that look like what Councilman Bruce Jarvis has called "a sea of asphalt" with landscaping, medians and rain gardens.

Allan Neimayer, village planning and zoning administrator, said rain gardens are a fairly new concept. Foliage in the rain gardens is designed to mitigate stormwater and improve the quality of it.

"From a developer standpoint, it meets Clean Water (Act) requirements and adds some aesthetics," he said.

Neimayer said the standards will cut down on discretionary time needed by the planning and zoning commission to review new site plans.

"Hopefully, it will streamline the review process at planning and zoning," he said.

Councilman Victor Paini, who sponsored the legislation, said the standards are "the next step of maturity" for Canal Winchester.

"The hope is that as you drive down Diley Road, that you'll see more architecture," he said. "We don't want people to see hundreds of cars."

Paini said he affectionately calls the Gender Road corridor "mayonnaise mile" because of all of the fast-food restaurants located along the stretch of road on the west side of town.

"We want to make something that's sustainable," he said. "The commercial aspect of development in town is very important."

Concepts that became the standards in the legislation came from a steering committee created in 2005, Neimayer said. The committee consisted of two council members, two planning and zoning commissioners, the mayor, development director and planning and zoning administrator.

Council passed residential development standards created by the steering committee in 2006.

Neimayer said parking lot design and location was a big part of the discussion for commercial construction.

"I think you can go to almost any community and along their main corridors, they want to see buildings," he added.

Neimayer said eventually, the development standards could become part of the village's zoning code.

"It really just gives it more teeth that way," he added.

The only other requirement setting a maximum on parking lot spaces in one part of the village comes from standards in the Community Economic Development Area established in July 2001 through a partnership between Canal Winchester and Violet Township. Neimayer said it's the first agreement of its kind in central Ohio.

Village council members will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 5 at the town hall, 10 N. High St.

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com