An existing Gahanna business is expanding to include the sales of landscape materials at 254 W. Johnstown Road.
Jake's Property Services requested and received conditional-use approval from Gahanna's Planning Commission on April 24 to allow outdoor storage and sales of landscape materials. Approval is contingent upon the applicant installing appropriate landscaping on the property by June 1.
Planning and zoning administrator Bonnie Gard said Columbia Gas, through an easement agreement with Jake Warner, cleared more than half of the existing plant material on the property in an effort to install a large gas line.
The clearing allows Warner to expand his business by offering landscaping materials for viewing and sale on the property.
He plans to stock mulch, gravel, limestone, top soil and other landscaping supplies for his own business use and for resale.
Gard said a new three-board rail fence has been permitted and installed on the west property perimeter, and Warner will work with ODOT to improve the appearance on the state right of way and fencing on the north property perimeter. The property to the east is screened by large evergreen trees.
One neighbor and some commission members expressed concerns about traffic congestion and the smell of mulch.
Speaking for the applicant, Sabrina Warner said mulch deliveries occur mostly during the morning hours.
"They just back up, dump and come straight out of the driveway," she said. "I don't know how to address the (smell). You have smells from all over. I don't think the mulch will be an issue."
Gard said her office would be the first to hear of any complaints, which would be addressed.
"We just have one employee at this yard," Warner said. "We have a landscape business in Granville."
He said limited sales at the Gahanna location would be limited, with Granville crews also using the site to serve local customers.
Commission members requested significant screening for the rear of the property.
"I'd like to see plantings in the back so it isn't visible the way that it is," commissioner Jennifer Price said. "I don't think it's fitting. It doesn't flow with the area with that empty space."
Warner said he's trying to get a permit through ODOT to remove a green fence, allowing him to extend the board fence across the back.
"After that, there's some drainage that needs done in the back," he said. "Then we'd landscape. We need to take care of the fence and the drainage."
Commission member Kristin Rosan said she also wants significant landscaping on the north side of the property on Johnstown Road.
Sabrina Warner said they've met with neighbors on both sides of the property.
"We have good relationships," she said. "We're excited to be in Gahanna. It has been warm and inviting. We're here to improve the property. We don't want to bring headaches to this side of town."