Rocky Fork Enterprise

3.55 acres along South Hamilton

Gahanna council to mull rezoning for Shops at Rocky Fork

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna City Council will consider the rezoning of residential parcels on 3.55 acres along South Hamilton Road to neighborhood commercial on Jan. 21.

The Gahanna Planning Commission voted unanimously Dec. 18 to approve the rezoning request by Ranger Development Group.

Jason Zadeh, president of Ranger, said he and partner Greg Gallas have continued to work with residents on what's proposed as the Shops at Rocky Fork, 291-361 S. Hamilton Road.

"We had a town hall meeting last week," he said. "It was extremely productive. We've modified the plan. We'll continue to work with residents on lighting and buffering. I think if we get a positive vote, many of these details will come forth. We've worked through a lot -- if not all -- of them."

Planning and zoning administrator Bonnie Gard said an additional parcel was added on the south end of the project to improve parking. It also led to moving an access point to the west, helping with traffic circulation.

She clarified that the project would start at Rocky Fork South, but it wouldn't extend to Rocky Fork North.

Gard said criteria to consider for a zoning change includes compatibility of the site's physical, geological and other environmental features, with the potential uses allowed in the proposed zoning district.

In addition, she said, the need should be considered for the types of uses permitted in the requested zoning district in relation to the amount of land currently zoned to accommodate the demand.

Commission chairman Donald Shepherd asked city engineer Karl Wetherholt if recommendations make sense from a 150-plus-page traffic study.

"The traffic engineer had an impact on the developer," Wetherholt said. "He made changes to help out a lot. He bought an extra parcel on the south. Moving a driveway west will help with stacking. They analyzed back-to-back turn lanes. The turn lane into the proposed entry north moved a little farther north. I agree with the recommendations they made."

Zadeh and Gallas, developers of the Commons at Clark Hall, said the goal for the Shops at Rocky Fork is to build on the success of the Commons.

The project would result in the demolition of nine single-family homes along the west side of Hamilton Road. It would lead to the construction of three retail structures, with pedestrian common areas that create outdoor amenities, complementing the retail services.

Zadeh said special attention is being paid to timeless architecture, landscaping, public social space and sound planning principles.

Pending council's approval of the zoning request, Ranger would return to the Planning Commission for a certificate of appropriateness and final development plan.

"We see this corridor as a key aspect to the community," Zadeh previously told the commission. "We realize this offers the opportunity to create a sense of place. We feel this is a gateway location."

Zadeh told ThisWeek he anticipates businesses would open in the first quarter of 2015.

In other commission discussion, Scott Chappelle, president of Strathmore Development Co., said plans would be resubmitted for a proposed apartment project at 152 Mill St. Strathmore is the owner of the private portions of Creekside.

"I'd like to apologize," he said. "We thought we had it tabled."

The commission voted against a proposed four-story, 32-unit apartment building on 0.52 acre at the corner of Mill and North High streets Dec. 4, when no one represented Strathmore at the meeting.

Chappelle said a new application would minimize variances, and the proposed building would feature architecture to complement the Creekside district.

"We've had a number of challenges, including inconsistencies in the code to wrestle with," he said. "We hope to resubmit something that meets your expectations."

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