Westerville News & Public Opinion

Planning Commission

Office building brings 'breath of fresh air'

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Westerville Planning Commission gave the green light to a new building at 164 Weatherby Lane, the last vacant parcel in the office complex northwest of Schrock Road and Charring Cross Drive.

The commission voted on the plans Dec. 18.

The 8,000-square-foot building, to be constructed by Romanelli & Hughes Building Co., is for an undisclosed insurance company looking to expand its operations.

The project would be smaller than the 15,000-square-foot building shown on site plans approved by the city in 1999, said Westerville Planner Lisa LaMantia.

The smaller building would allow for more green space and outside areas, including patios and decks, for employees, LaMantia said.

The facility also would have a different look than the offices surrounding it.

While other buildings in the area are brick with traditional design elements, Romanelli & Hughes presented a more modern look, with different roof lines, stone and stucco details, and earth-tone hues.

"We find it refreshing; it's a nice change," LaMantia said of the architecture.

There are no overlaying architectural standards for the area, as there are for some of Westerville's other office parks, LaMantia said, so the developer is able to break from the overall look.

City code does say that new construction should blend in with surrounding structures, but because this building would sit off Schrock Road behind other offices, LaMantia said city staffers do not feel the change in architecture would be jarring.

A multifamily development sits behind the site.

In approving the plans, commission members agreed with city staff comments, saying they, too, liked the change in architecture.

"It's a nice breath of fresh air to the area," said City Councilwoman Jenifer French, who sits on the commission.

Commission Chairman Paul Johnson agreed.

"I look forward to seeing something this unique," he said.

No timeline or cost estimates have yet been attached to the project.