The German Village Commission gave its blessing to the first of several significant steps that would allow a commercial property to be converted into a single-family house in the neighborhood.
Commission members July 2 recommended approval of three separate variances for the property at 673 Mohawk St.
Those variances included construction of a partial masonry wall on the west edge of the property, building an elevator belvedere on the roof and permitting a six-foot setback for the parking lot.
The recommendation will be considered Aug. 27 by the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment.
William Hugus, one of the architects representing the building's owners, Bob and Peggy Walter, said neighbors of the property will be notified in advance of the meeting.
The architectural review board also approved removal of two trees on the property, providing they had appropriate replacements and, in a concession to a neighbor, allowed the driveway to be moved nine feet from the adjacent property to the south.
The original plan had the driveway placed four feet from the neighboring property.
On a related note, the commission stipulated the Walters' driveway would not be regularly used for trucks or school buses to St. Mary Catholic Church, directly to the west.
St. Mary parishioners will be allowed to use the Walters' driveway to access the church parking lot. All heavy vehicles will access the church lot from Lazelle Street.
In addition, the commission gave architects permission to replace the deteriorated original windows with custom-built ones.
The 13,250-square-foot property, built in 1887 as an elementary school for St. Mary, is now home to a U.S. Bank branch and several professional offices.
If the project is approved, it would become the second-largest house in the city of Columbus.
George Bennett, an attorney for the Walters, said he was optimistic, but also guarded, considering the numerous levels of approval that await the development. "There are a thousand things that can derail a project," Bennett said.