Rocky Fork Enterprise

Skilled nursing, rehab

Otterbein prepares final development plans for site


The Gahanna Planning Commission scheduled one more workshop with Otterbein Skilled Nursing & Rehab officials March 6 (after press deadline) to finalize a development plan.

Commission member David Thom said the workshop would include discussion about landscaping and design for the five-home neighborhood proposed at 975 Hamilton Road.

"We want to make sure our I's are dotted and T's crossed," Thom said.

Jill Hreben, Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices president/CEO, said the company was pleased to present a site plan Feb. 27.

"We're anxious to begin serving the older folks in Gahanna," she said. "What's really important in design is that it looks very residential. That's our intention, that it fits in the neighborhood around it."

Otterbein currently operates five senior-living communities, five small-house neighborhoods and a home health agency in Ohio.

City planning administrator Bonnie Gard said the proposed 5-acre site faces North Hamilton Road and abuts Beecher Road on the north.

"There are five buildings, with each house having 10 residents each," Gard said. "There's also a hub building to accommodate an office."

Gard said the bulk of the landscaping would be in a boulevard, but each home has planting areas.

"It's very residential in nature, with each house a little different from the other," she said. "There's a fenced rear yard that allows folks to be outside."

Gard said the lighting plan also is very residential

"The lot coverage is very small and well-under the 75-percent maximum (requirement)," she said.

Access to the proposed site is from a full-service driveway on Hamilton Road opposite Silver Lane.

City engineer Karl Wetherholt said a median on Hamilton would need to be modified to provide a left-turn lane into the site. A right-in, right-out driveway farther south would provide the secondary access to the site.

Ridgecrest Drive resident Jane Peck said her property is contiguous to the site.

"Overall, I think their plan to be good neighbors has come to fruition," she said.

She said she was hoping the homes' exteriors would have been brick or stone for continuity of appearance, rather than different colors of siding.

"That's my only opposition," she said. "I feel safe in speaking for the homeowners association that we're pleased with the ingress/egress on Hamilton Road. We're pleased with the development plan. It has been a positive experience, and I feel it will be a good fit for the area."

Commission member Thomas Wester questioned the availability of sidewalks.

"There's a multi-purpose trail along there that they are fronting," Wetherholt said.

Otterbein representatives said the main entrance to the development would be widened from 14 to 20 feet at the request of fire marshal Steve Welsh. The additional width is needed to accommodate fire department apparatus, Welsh said.

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