Rocky Fork Enterprise

Gahanna's Northeast School

Educational gardens may sprout despite neighbors' concerns


Gahanna residents who live near the Northeast School might have an educational garden beside them whether they like it or not.

During an April 3 Gahanna Planning Commission workshop, an attorney representing the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities said a conditional use might not even be needed to allow a portion of 3.9 acres at 500 N. Hamilton Road to be used for a garden.

The FCBDD wants to be a good neighbor anyway.

David Hodge, attorney for FCBDD, said he has reviewed Gahanna’s code and case law for similar issues.

“The zoning of the property is an institutional zoning classification, and that classification allows a school and institution for educational purpose,” he said. “Uses for educational purposes include not only what’s inside school walls but outside. The purpose for this garden/farm is for educational purposes.”

He said the FCBDD still would work with surrounding property owners, even if a conditional use isn’t needed.

Teresa Kobelt, director of FCBDD and CEO of ARC Industries, said she has thought a lot about the feedback from neighbors during the March 27 commission meeting.

“There were several themes — the overall footprint and the fence being close to property lines,” she said. “The fence is now about 30 feet from property lines. The field spaces are also smaller. Instead of 3.9 acres, there’s actually 1 1/4 acre of (production) field spaces and high tunnels.”

The revised plan also excludes other issues that bothered neighbors, including bees to pollinate crops, a compost pile and a cistern.

For more on this story, read the April 11 edition of ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise.