A standing-room-only crowd is expected at the Feb. 3 meeting of the Delaware Planning Commission.

A standing-room-only crowd is expected at the Feb. 3 meeting of the Delaware Planning Commission.

After months of meetings, the city's planning department is ready to ask the commission to approve a rezoning and preliminary development plan for a Turkey Hill gasoline station, convenience store and car wash at Stratford Road and U.S. Route 23.

The issue is at the top of the 7 p.m. agenda, right after the consent agenda, said city spokesman Lee Yoakum.

The applicant is Columbus developer Skilken. The project would be developed on a three-acre site now occupied by Garth's Auctions Inc.

This will be the third planning commission meeting on the project.

The project originally came before the commission in May 2009 and was met with considerable opposition from those living near the property, as well as local historians, because of its proximity to one of the oldest homes in Delaware.

The home and barn on the site once belonged to Col. Forest Meeker, one of Delaware's original inhabitants who settled here in 1811. The structures sit on five acres just north of the auction house at 2690 Stratford Road and are now owned by Carolyn Porter.

If the project goes forward, the home, barn and acreage will be donated to the Delaware County Historical Society for an office, museum and library, said Dave Efland, the city's planning director.

On Sept. 2, Skilken brought in detailed renderings showing the car wash and convenience store -- each with stone and cedar walls, with pitched, slate roofs -- facing Stratford Road.

Neighbors liked the plans but were skeptical that the project would fit into the historical and environmentally sensitive area, adjacent to the Olentangy River.

The site plans have not changed since then but there have been some adjustments to the entrances, Yoakum said.

"Only very recently did the applicant and staff learn that ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) District 6 denied the request to maintain a limited access point on U.S. 23," which would force all vehicles entering and exiting the site onto Stratford Road, Yoakum said.

Skilken officials favor keeping the limited access off of Route 23 to "improve the overall level of service for the U.S. 23 and Stratford Road intersection."

They continue to work with ODOT to find a way to make that happen, he said.

"The site, as presently designed, can accommodate the removal of this right-in, right-out access (off U.S. 23) with little or no change to the site plan as currently depicted," Yoakum said.

The commission on Feb. 3 will consider a preliminary development plan, he said. If it is approved, the applicant must still submit a final development plan for planning commission and city council approval. The city planning staff is in favor of moving the issue along for now, but "remains in support of including the right-in, right-out access off of Route 23," Yoakum said.

Also on the agenda will be three items for the Meadows at Carson Farms residential development at the southwest corner of William Street-U.S. Route 36 and Carson Farms Boulevard.

The developers are seeking approval of a rezoning, conditional use permit and preliminary development plan for the project.