Gahanna residents are expressing concerns about a plan the city created, showing ways the Hamilton Road corridor could be developed.

Gahanna residents are expressing concerns about a plan the city created, showing ways the Hamilton Road corridor could be developed.

During an April 22 open house, several residents asked city officials if the city plans to purchase property along Hamilton Road and develop it as planned.

"I heard some rumor that the city was going to buy and tear down houses," said Joshua Maycock, who lives across from the Kroger plaza on the west side of Hamilton Road.

He said that after speaking with city officials, he understood that the plan is for future development by private individuals, which means he would have to sell his house to a developer for any of the plans to materialize.

Another resident asked the city's development director, Sadicka White, about residential properties along the corridor. White told her the best way to keep her home and the area around her as a residential area is to talk to the neighbors and make sure they don't sell their properties. The only way to implement parts of the Hamilton Road corridor plan is to sell a property to a developer, she said.

"It isn't a plan for the city to redevelop," said Matt Huffman, the city planner. He said the city creates plans for areas to guide future development so that if a developer purchases land, the city could use the plan to show the developer how the city and its residents would like the property to be developed.

The plan includes the large undeveloped tract southeast of the Interstate 270 interchange with Hamilton Road, north to Clark State Road.

Tony Slanec, a principal with Bird Houk Collaborative, said Bird Houk had consulted with the city on the plan. The city organized a group of residents, property owners, business owners and city officials to study areas along the corridor. Because Gahanna has developed most of its land, Slanec said, the city could grow only by adding density. That's why a few pieces of the corridor plan show the potential to add town homes and apartments.

The group looked at different areas and potential uses, trying to decide what would be best for the city if any development were to occur.

Slanec said the plan contains concepts, and it's "all predicated on the market" because development usually is market driven.

The plan also includes some of the city's plan for infrastructure improvements, which city officials could more readily explain on April 22.

Kathy Myers attended to ask questions about the proposed roundabout at Hamilton and Clark State roads. Roundabouts allow traffic to flow through an intersection in a circle, with spaces for cars to enter and exit the circle. Myers said she lives north of Clark State Road.

"Traffic on Hamilton Road is bad," she said. "I think it needs to be widened."

Brian Larick, the city's newest council member, attended the meeting more to learn than to answer questions, he said. Larick was appointed in April to fill the seat vacated by Tom Evers.

He said his understanding of the plan is that if developers are interested in investing in the city, "these are the guidelines."

According to the Hamilton Road corridor plan, the large undeveloped tract at the southernmost portion of the plan, southeast of I-270, should become a mixed-use development, including commercial uses. The plan states the city should respect the natural areas of the site and promote multiple uses of transportation, such as bicycle paths and walking trails. A denser use is planned for the area, which includes 88 acres.
The plan includes the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District's proposed development at the northwest corner of Hamilton Road and Granville Street. The school's proposed three-story building, Clark Hall, will be the first of three buildings proposed for the old Kroger site.

An area south of Hamilton and Granville, where individual single-family homes are used as residences and some are used by the Gahanna-Jefferson schools, could be filled with two-story buildings that include a mix of retail and office uses. The 27 single-family lots to the south - running almost to I-270 - could be developed in a similar manner as two- to three-story town homes.

North of the Clark Hall site, nearer to Clark State Road, the plan shows larger single-family lots.

The east side of Hamilton Road already includes some mixed uses, including the Kroger store and shopping center, Gahanna City Hall, Gahanna Lincoln High School and district administrative offices, and businesses north of the intersection at Granville Street. The plan shows the Kroger shopping center could be rearranged to have buildings closer to Hamilton Road, with parking in the rear.

The plan includes suggested ways to help the Hamilton Road corridor evolve from mostly vehicle-oriented access to development around I-270 to a more pedestrian-friendly access nearer to Clark State Road.