An 8-foot-high fence has been approved at WesBanco, 116 S. Stygler Road, to improve public safety at the business that has been the site of two armed robberies.
The Gahanna Planning Commission on July 9 approved a variance to allow a fence to be taller than 6 feet, as well as a variance to allow the fence to extend into the front yard beyond the building setback line.
Applicant Scott Wesney, Wesney Construction president, said the retail bank was robbed Oct. 31 and Dec. 6, 2013, and the escape route was to the east of the bank and through the Green Meadow apartments.
"WesBanco feels a 6-foot fence can be scaled," he said. "A perpetrator can get through the fence and disappear at the apartments."
Deputy development director Michael Blackford said robbers have a few different routes they could take.
"They would replace existing fence and fill in gaps where there's no fence," he said. "They ask for a wood fence, and wood fences are common. This would, hopefully, make for safer conditions."
Wesney said an existing chain-link fence runs along the south property line. U.S. Route 62 is to the north of the property.
Commission member Joe Keehner asked if the applicant had thought about adding sticky bushes.
"I'm just thinking out loud," he said. "I can see the need. It's kind of a security issue. It's a weird pedestrian situation with the apartments and commercial on 62. It's sort of, what can you say? With two robberies, it's a serious and disturbing thing."
In other commission action, a final development plan was approved for Kemba Financial Credit Union to have a drive-thru at 110 N. Hamilton Road at the former McDonald's site.
Related legislation was approved for a conditional use to allow the drive-thru and ATM lanes, as well as a certificate of appropriateness for site plan, landscaping, building design and signs.
Blackford said the credit unit would be about 3,400 square foot, with three drive-thru lanes on the eastern portion of the property.
"The site has been cleared of previous development," he said. "The building is pushed forward to Hamilton Road (more than the former McDonald's), which leaves green area to the eastern side. Access is the same as McDonald's. They're making pedestrian connectivity from Hamilton."
Blackford said the building would be red brick with a black roof, and the landscape plan preserves five large canopy trees.
"There's extensive landscaping along the perimeter and herb gardens toward Hamilton," he said. "This type of development is encouraged in this area. We're utilizing property that's underutilized at this time."
Commission member Don Shepherd thanked the applicant for a well-done plan.
"It's one of the nicest we've seen in a while," he said. "It's very complete."