The Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission heard separate applications for a patio and signs Feb. 12 for Pickerington Plaza, a proposed retail shopping center to be located at the southeast corner of Hill Road North (state Route 256) and Blacklick-Eastern Road (state Route 204).
Three buildings will be constructed on the 5.195-acre site by Northstar Realty.
The center, with 231 parking spaces, will consist of a mix of retail stores and restaurants.
Starbucks, Pier One and Party City have announced they will be among the tenants that could number as many as 11.
Applications for a site plan, architecture, landscaping and lighting were approved by the Planning Commission Jan. 8.
The Feb. 12 application was for an 800 square-foot patio, enclosed by a four-foot tall wrought iron fence, for an unnamed restaurant that will be located on the east side of the southernmost building in the center.
Jack Reynolds, attorney for Northstar, told the Commission four other patio applications, including one for Starbucks, will be presented in the future.
"This is just for one patio, the other ones, we'll come back when the tenants are nailed down to a greater degree," Reynolds said.
Pickerington's zoning staff indicated it would only approve a patio in that location if it closes by 10 p.m and no loud noise emanates from loudspeakers or a sound amplification system.
However, Reynolds tried to get the Planning and Zoning Commission to ease up on the 10 p.m. curfew.
"We request there be no time limit on operation or use of the patio," said Reynolds, adding the patio in question was not near a residential area.
"We hope we could disperse with the 10 p.m (limit) because of the commercial nature of all of the surrounding area," Reynolds.
"Is the hotel close by?" asked Commission member Paula Evans.
"The building we're looking at is all the way down on the south end, we're all the way in the corner next to the detention basin," Reynolds said.
City Development Services Director Joe Henderson said the patio would be "400 to 500 feet" from the nearest apartments.
Commission member Doug Blake said he wanted to alter the city staff requirement there be no loud sound amplification to include all loud sounds, such as "... people hootin' and hollerin'.' I'm just worried about the devil in the details," Blake said.
"We don't want people screaming in any of our operations," Reynolds said.
Henderson said if things get out of hand, excessive noise can already be enforced by the city as a nuisance.
Commission member Brian Bosch expressed his reservations, comparing the Pickerington Plaza application to an establishment on Hill Road that has caused headaches in the past because of excessive noise near a residential area.
"The footage reminds me of another patio," Bosch said. "Unrestricted (hours) makes me nervous, (but) these are good locations, a lot better than what we've had (in the past)," he said.
Commission member Chris Schweitzer said he was open to compromise.
"Nothing good happens after 12 or 2 a.m in some places," said Schweitzer, adding he was amenable to "splitting the difference."
The Commission agreed to compromise, voting 6-0 to make the patio close by midnight rather than the 10 p.m recommendation.
The Commission also approved a Comprehensive Sign Plan for ground and wall signs for Pickerington Plaza by a 6-0 vote.
"This is consistent with what we've done at Hunter's Run," said Reynolds, referring to the shopping center adjacent to the Pickerington Plaza site.
"We try to anticipate what all of our tenants will be doing."
Reynolds said the only tenant that will require extraordinarily larger wall sign will be Party City, which is going into a 12,600 square-foot space.
"This is our largest tenant in the facility, (going) in the east building down on the south side," he said.
"We've asked for a maximum of 120 square-foot sign on the frontage of the building. (Party City) asks, given the size of the building and (being) a major tenant, an extra 30 feet to give a more adequate representation to the public," Reynolds said.
The Commission then voted 6-0 to increase the size of the proposed Party City's wall signs to 150 square feet.