The Upper Arlington Board of Zoning and Planning approved an expansion to a testing laboratory for Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus, 3518 Riverside Drive, at its Jan. 19 meeting.

The Upper Arlington Board of Zoning and Planning approved an expansion to a testing laboratory for Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus, 3518 Riverside Drive, at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Company president Dr. Gery Wilkowski said an existing 1,000-square-foot laboratory would be expanded to about 6,000 square feet.

"We do a lot of structural integrity testing for the energy business," Wilkowski said. "A lot of our business is with regulatory agencies. We help in selecting materials for new power plants, and assessing failures in existing plant equipment, and also for new pipeline construction."

The laboratory expansion is smaller than the main office building, which is 23,000 square feet.

"Really, it's a pretty tiny garage building that we converted to a lab to help get the business going," he said.

Senior planning officer Chad Gibson said such expansions are welcome economic development.

"This will allow this business to expand in place in Upper Arlington, which is a nice goal of the master plan, to retain and to allow the expansion of existing businesses," Gibson said. "The owner estimated that an additional five to 10 employees will be included as part of this expansion."

Board approvals also included a bit of free market irony, as two bicycle shops prepared to open near each other at 1442 and 1510 W. Lane Ave.

"There's not a whole lot the board had to say about it, except to make sure these folks knew that was occurring," Gibson said. "The businesses felt as though their market niches where such that they could coexist."

In other business, the board:

Approved, by a 5-2, vote awning graphics for a new Roll Bicycle Shop, requiring an amendment to the comprehensive graphics plan at 1510 W. Lane Ave., on behalf of Kohr Royer Griffith.

Board members were concerned about the use of neon signs and wattage levels, but the applicant stood firm that the sign should represent the business logo and suggest its main product, bicycles. The board agreed to the usage with restrictions on glare and final staff and BZAP approval.

Unanimously approved exterior building improvements for a proposed Trek Bicycle Store at 1442 W. Lane Ave., for the C-Z Company. Approved unanimously a request to permit the construction of a 1-1/2 story room addition for Mr. and Mrs. David Sethi 1300 London Drive, including a two-foot encroachment into the 11-foot side yard Approved unanimously a request to permit the construction of a screened porch for Mr. and Mrs. William Schott 2760 Chester Road, including an encroachment of less than two feet into the side yard. Approved unanimously the installation of temporary signage at Kingston Center for Mark Catalano. Board members were concerned about whether signage might block the view of vehicles leaving the parking area, but representatives of the property owner said the signs would be displayed parallel to the road, minimizing blockage.

Staff also noted that the large area of the site minimized concerns about the number of signs being approved.