Pickerington City Council approved the first reading of legislation last week that will clear the way for development of a new retail center near the intersection of state routes 256 and 204.

Pickerington City Council approved the first reading of legislation last week that will clear the way for development of a new retail center near the intersection of state routes 256 and 204.

The project, being developed by the Anchor Cos., includes a 16,000-square-foot strip shopping center, an 8,100-square-foot gas station with a drive-through and a 4,550-square-foot restaurant on about 8.5 acres.

A second reading is scheduled for council's next regular meeting on Nov. 4.

City planning and zoning director Lance Schultz said the property was zoned for the proposed use several years ago. If council votes in favor of a final development plan for the project through two more readings, it will return to the city's planning and zoning commission for architectural, site plan, landscape and lighting review.

Todd Dillon, director of development for the Anchor Cos., said there are several potential tenants already committed to the project but he declined to name them.

"We wouldn't build it if there wasn't a reason for it," Dillon said. "We wouldn't take that risk on."

There is no target date to break ground for the project. But, Dillon said, he does not think the national economic downturn will prolong the process.

"The economy affects us just like anyone else, but we have faith it's going to pull through," he said. "Now's the time to get the approvals in place so that when it picks up, like we know it will, we'll be ready to roll.

"That piece of property is a great piece of property and we know it will be successful with the tenants that are going in there."

If approved, the center will face state Route 204 and access will be from the traffic signal at Freedom Way, Schultz said.

Also last week, council safety committee chairman Keith Smith said he plans to bring proposed changes to the city's ordinances regarding disturbing the peace to the full council in November. Rules committee chairman Jeff Fix said his committee plans to begin a review of the city's administrative code in November.

msegaloff@thisweeknews.com