Northland News

Northland Plan I

Update moving ahead, NCC vote scheduled Nov. 5

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A document intended to guide development and redevelopment within the traditional boundaries of the Northland area now exists in draft form.

The update to what is called Northland Plan I, which includes the area south and west of Interstate 270, was discussed at last week's Northland Community Council meeting, as was a timeline for delivering an approved document to Columbus City Council for final adoption.

"I think we've got a really good rough draft here," NCC President Emmanuel V. Remy said before turning the monthly meeting over to Christine Palmer, lead project manager for the city's Planning Department.

Palmer said the update, once it's approved by city council, "becomes city policy."

That means, she added, that city council members would turn to the document for guidance when asked to make changes to existing zoning or variances to requirements already in place.

"The plan says what we'd like to see happen here," noted Dave Paul, chairman of NCC's development committee, but it won't change zoning that currently exists on property within the Northland I area.

The draft is available for review at the website city personnel set up for the project at tinyurl.com/northlandplan.

Palmer asked that any further public comment be submitted by Oct. 1. Her email address is cpalmer@columbus.gov.

The area of the city in question, according to the draft document, encompasses 17.7 square miles, bounded on the north and east by I-270; Cooke, Ferris and Morse roads on the south; and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and Huntley Road on the west. Some 85 percent of the area falls within Columbus city boundaries; the rest is in Worthington, Minerva Park and Blendon, Clinton, Mifflin and Sharon townships.

The population of the area, according to the 2010 census, was 87,457, up 3.3 percent from 2000.

"Basically, what we're recommending is the density levels remain the same in your residential areas," Palmer said.

Some changes, such as community mixed-use of multifamily, office, retail and institutional uses, are recommended along East Dublin-Granville Road between Parkville Street and Spring Run Drive, with residential development of 16 to 22 units an acre. The same designation is recommended for Morse Road between Karl Road and Northtowne Boulevard.

A more-intensive regional mixed-use commercial designation with multifamily, office, retail and institutional is proposed for Morse Road east of Alum Creek "to support the development of this area as a regional shopping and living designation in conjunction with Easton, located just to the south."

"The southeast corner of Busch (Boulevard) and Schrock Road and the area around Sinclair Road and Freeway Drive are recommended for uses under an 'employment center' classification," the draft states.

"Any future development or redevelopment in these areas should focus on optimizing jobs and employment. Appropriate specific uses include research and development, light industrial, hospitality and flex office space.

"The area north of the Busch and Schrock intersection is recommended for light industrial uses. This recommendation is consistent with the existing land use. New retail or residential uses are not recommended for this area."

The draft plan also calls for an eventual study about removing the system of access streets that exist on either side of East Dublin-Granville Road, Remy noted.

The plan does not have any funding tied to it for, as an example, more green space and park land, Palmer said. Efforts at increasing open space would have to come from a grassroots effort, she indicated.

An open house regarding the draft plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24.

The Northland Community Council's vote on the plan update is currently set for Tuesday, Nov. 5, which would send the document to the Columbus Development Commission on Thursday, Nov. 14.

The date for a city council vote has yet to be determined.

Remy urged representatives of NCC member organizations on hand last week to take copies of the rough draft back to their civic groups for further study.

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