Rocky Fork Enterprise

Planning commission

Vote on Shops at Rocky Fork slated March 26

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The Gahanna Planning Commission expects to vote March 26 on final development plans and related legislation for the proposed Shops at Rocky Fork.

The commission postponed voting on legislation during the March 12 meeting in an effort to allow a final workshop in the matter March 19.

The final development plan includes 12 parcels on 3.555 acres at 295-361 S. Hamilton Road for redevelopment from single-family residences to a neighborhood, commercial mixed-use district.

Planning administrator Bonnie Gard said the project would consist of three buildings having a total 27,012 square feet.

She said the buildings are pulled close to the street, with the parking behind each tenant, much like the Commons at Clark Hall.

The buildings would have dual facades to accommodate access from the parking areas.

Three access points are proposed, including one full access at Rocky Fork South, one at the north portion of the project on Hamilton Road and one right-in, right-out access slightly south of the midpoint of the project.

The commission also is considering design review.

Gard said the primary exterior finish material is brick, and the storefronts are light bronze with paint trim colors in Renwick golden oak and tanbark. Metal accents would be in terra cotta, Spartan bronze and champagne.

She said Spanish tile in dark terra cotta would accent all three buildings.

The project would be landscaped extensively with a total of 47 trees, 15 railed landscape planters designed for the tree lawn, a 10-foot planting bed along the western edge of the property that abuts residential, a 6-foot vinyl fence to screen residential and a 10-foot buffer to screen the residential to the north and to the west of the project on Rocky Fork South.

Gard said a 3-foot hedge along with evergreen trees would be planted to screen two drive-thru restaurants from Hamilton Road and Rocky Fork South.

The pedestrian walkway between buildings B and C would be landscaped, and benches would be provided. Decorative brick columns and railing would be supplied as part of the streetscape for the project.

Commission member Dave Andrews said he expected more architectural detail on the buildings.

"I wasn't blown away," he said. "I think the landscape is gorgeous. I think it's a neat building. I would like to see extra architectural features. I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be. I wasn't wowed."

Project architect Carter Bean said some details get lost in renderings.

"We have recessed panels," he said. "There's more texture in brick work that you don't see in renderings. From the start, we wanted a turn-of-the-century, industrial (feel). They were almost becoming too elaborate to that history. We didn't do multiple colors of masonry. It will be more lively in real life."

Commission member Bobbie Burba said she thought neighbors wanted a higher fence.

"The neighbors were OK with 6 feet," Bean said. "The neighbors were more concerned about lighting. We've done more to shield lighting. We have evergreens placed to screen the light."

Commission member Joe Keehner said it seems weird to have drive-thrus if the intent is to create pedestrian-friendly space.

"I like that there's a lot of landscaping," he said. "I have a landscape design background, but I'm not a horticulturalist. I think you could be more creative with plantings in the middle."

Commission chairman Thomas Wester said he didn't see revision dates on some renderings.

"What am I voting on here?" he asked. "Is the most current set?"

He said he struggled with consistency between the architectural renderings and package.

"There are still questions in my mind on water (management)," Wester said. "We're referencing some work here in conflict with engineering drawings."

Commission member Kristin Rosan suggested another workshop to give the developer an opportunity to bring consistency between the drawings and plans and to make final tweaks.

"We're anxious to move forward but want to satisfy all your concerns," said Jason Zadeh, president of Ranger Development. "We'll bring back materials to satisfy you. There were inconsistencies that don't reflect the project or intent. We apologize. We thought computer renderings were an effective way to give the presentation."

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