The Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission gave the green light for the Kroger Co. to operate a garden center in the store's parking lot at 1045 Hill Road North.
The commission unanimously approved the conditional-use permit for an outdoor service facility at its April 9 meeting.
Kroger will operate the temporary garden center until July 16. Hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, shrubs and roses will be offered for sale.
Pickerington City Planner Clement Chukwu told the commission the Kroger parking lot will lose 20 spaces to make way for the outdoor garden center.
Commission Member Ted Hackworth said he believed there were safety concerns regarding Kroger placing the garden center "in the middle of the parking lot."
Randy Wiley of Kroger Co. advised Hackworth the company plans to put the garden center there for "logistical reasons."
Wiley said the company has to run an active and live cash register closer to the source of electricity and the garden center also needs to be "closer to the source of water to water the plants."
Wiley said Kroger has operated the temporary outdoor garden centers successfully company-wide.
"This is the fifth year we've done this and our 14th or 15th store," he said.
"Most stores are formatted in the manner.
We have not run into any safety concerns," Wiley said.
He said another reason Kroger puts the garden centers in the middle of its parking lots is to create "full visibility."
Hackworth agreed to vote for approval, with "some reservations."
Kroger Co. has partnered with Michigan West Shore Nursery for the 2013 Kroger Outdoor Garden Center program. The Garden Center will be staffed and operated by Kroger team members.
In other action, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved rezoning a residence at 193 W. Church St. from R-4 (residential) to C-2 (mixed use commercial).
Richard J. Bowman, owner of the property, said he has been unable to sell the house as a residence because of the constant stream of traffic on Hill Road to the immediate west.
Bowman said he wants to put the property on the market as a commercial property "as soon as possible" because it is better suited for a business rather than a residence.
Keely Weaver, who owns a State Farm office across from Bowman on W. Church Street, said she opposed Bowman's request because Bowman opposed a similar request to have her office zoned C-2 in 2006.
She also said a business at that location would exacerbate existing parking problems on W. Church Street.
Several commission members advised Weaver she could now seek the same C-2 request because of the transitional nature of the neighborhood, in which offices and limited commercial uses are deemed appropriate.
"There's been a paradigm shift, this is what we're looking for, for the whole area," said Commission Member Brian Bosch.