The W.g. Grinders restaurant in Westerville will move to a more permanent location following the planning commission's unanimous approval of a site plan on Wednesday, April 22.

The W.g. Grinders restaurant in Westerville will move to a more permanent location following the planning commission's unanimous approval of a site plan on Wednesday, April 22.

The commission voted 7-0 to approve construction of a new 1,800-square-foot, two-story building on a vacant lot at 99 S. State St. The applicant, Sam Ganguly, intends to move his W.g. Grinders and associated second-floor office 79 S. State St., where he currently leases space.

Ganguly's proposal was also discussed at the March planning commission meeting, but he withdrew the plans after neighbors voiced concerns about the cramped Uptown parking situation. Ganguly was able to bring a new site plan to the planning commission this month that pared down the original building size from 2,300 square feet to 1,800 square feet, and allowing for 16 off-street parking spaces.

"I knew the lot was going to be a challenge," he said.

Eight of those parking spaces will be located on the neighboring property, according to city staff reports, and will be reserved for those tenants. Drew Berlin, owner of the adjacent properties at 103, 105 and 107 S. State St., told commission members that while the parking situation may not be optimal, things could be worse.

"I'm concerned about the density versus parking, but this use is probably as good an option as we're going to have," Berlin said.

Planning commission members agreed, commenting on the often-sensitive subject of parking in the Uptown district.

"I think we have a nice little building with too little space," said commission member Gerald Domanik. "I wish we had access to all these properties (along that block of State Street). We're going to have to do this piecemeal, and the more variances we have to give, the variances are going to go right down the line."

Commission chairman Larry Jenkins said the issue of parking will be one the city has to deal with for the foreseeable future.

"We're trying to maintain the character and feel of this area, plus dealing with people's need for transportation, and we're dealing with an area that was developed in a different age," he said.

Ganguly said he is planning for a 160-day window for construction of the new building.

"We could be done in four months if all of our building inspections go well," he said. "We're not planning to block traffic on State Street during the construction; we're planning on using the back lot for (construction equipment)."

lrice@thisweeknews.com