Northland News

Sign plan, fewer parking spaces gain NCC committee approval


The addition of a new sushi restaurant in a shopping plaza at 5700 N. Hamilton Road won't require the owner to add more parking spaces, Northland Community Council development committee members concluded last week.

"The committee felt that was kind of a no-brainer," Chairman Dave Paul said.

When Family Video Movie Club Inc., based in Glenview, Ill., bought the property two years ago, it included a vacant storefront that is now occupied by the new eatery. David Pontia of Pontia Architecture told committee members on behalf of his client last week that the existing 206 spaces meet the city requirement for retail operations, but not the 243 needed when a restaurant is included among the tenants.

In arguing for 15 percent fewer spaces than are supposed to be available, he said many of the other tenants in the shopping center across from Home Depot close at 5 p.m., meaning their customers won't need parking.

"The site and everything stays the same," Pontia said.

"What happens when your tenant leaves?" asked committee member William Logan.

The parking-space requirement for restaurants is the highest in the city code, Pontia replied.

The vote to recommend approval for the variance was 14-0, with one committee member abstaining because he works with Family Video Movie Club, according to Paul.

In the second go-round for another sign issue for what is now known as the Saraga International Plaza at Morse and Maize roads, NCC development panel members split 10-5 in recommending approval, Paul said.

The request was tabled at the July meeting. Stanley Young of Columbus Sign Co., representing Oakridge Plaza Partners et al., was back before the committee last week. At issue, he said, was a zoning code violation issued more than a year ago because one of the signs for the plaza at 1269 Morse Road has eight panels for the names of tenants, double the amount allowed.

Young said his clients were unaware that the sign violated regulations when they purchased two of the three parcels that make up the shopping center.

"Multiple owners, sort of interrupted by an intervening parcel, made it complicated and kind of unique," Paul said.

The majority of committee members voted to approve a special permit plan that will allow the sign to advertise tenants who are technically "off site," Paul said, but are actually in what most would view as a single shopping plaza.

Those who voted against the graphics variance simply want to see new signs in keeping with the Morse Road commercial overlay, but the committee has no mechanism for forcing a property owner to remove an existing sign, according to Paul.