Booster

Lucky's, local leaders see eye to eye on trees

Grocery store initially had asked for variances, but new plan calls for green space in parking lot

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Lucky's got lucky.

The Lucky's Farmers Market proposed for the south Clintonville edifice built in 1966 as a Kroger but that most recently was a Goodwill thrift store has dodged some variance bullets.

"Luckily, we were able to make the folks happy the other evening," attorney Jackson B. Reynolds III said last week.

He was referring to a meeting he and a landscape designer had with members of the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum, United Crestview Area Neighbors and Friends of the Lower Olentangy.

The attorney was accompanied by Todd Foley, a landscape designer and project manager with Faris Planning and Design LLC.

The gathering, which arboretum President Mike McLaughlin said was arranged by Clintonville Area Commission District 1 Representative Rob Wood, enabled the groups to express their concerns that a natural-food grocer was seeking to get out of meeting requirements for planting trees and other landscaping at what's currently a somewhat barren parking lot almost directly across North High Street from Giant Eagle.

A landscape architect on the board for the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum had prepared a design for the parking lot at 2784 N. High St. showing the space could accommodate trees and landscaping, McLaughlin said.

A strange thing happened, Reynolds said, when the arboretum board member's design was compared to the one Foley came up with after surveying the parking lot.

"It was exactly the same," Reynolds said. "I've never had that happen. It went very well. We matched them inch for inch for green space.

"I was happy to be able to present it to that group," he said. "Now I don't have to worry about them showing up and being worried about green space. We can move forward."

"It's a good thing, from what the initial application said to forgo the trees to meeting the requirement and possibly doing a little more," McLaughlin said.

The new survey was what did the trick, according to the lawyer representing Lucky's Market, currently a single-location in Boulder, Colo., owned by former child star Bo Sharon.

"We were able to find out that we had more than adequate drive-aisle widths, so what we were able to do was provide the green space with the number of trees that we now meet the interior requirements for parking lots," Reynolds said.

That led to two of three variance requests scheduled to come before the Clintonville Area Commission for a recommendation next Thursday, Feb. 7, being dropped, the attorney said.

In addition to the parking-lot landscaping rules being met, another for screening the property from Kinnear Place also can be achieved without the loss of needed spaces, he said.

The lone remaining variance has to do with the requirement for an enclosure around the compactor in the alley behind the market. Reynolds said there is simply not enough space for trucks to maneuver with an enclosed compactor.

"It was just a great meeting," McLaughlin said.

Lucky's Farmers Market, which now has former executives with Sunflower Farmers Market and Wild Oats Market on board, plans to expand to a six-store chain in the Midwest.

The proposed Clintonville location represents the first.

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