More pizza for Worthington
Pizza aficionados likely will have another downtown Worthington chain to try.
Despite some concerns expressed by commission members and the public, the Municipal Planning Commission on Jan. 10 voted 4-1 to issue a conditional-use permit to allow Jet's Pizza to move into the former Scottie MacBean's, 660 High St.
The prominent downtown storefront has been vacant for more than a year.
Jet's is a chain of pizzerias that focuses on delivery and takeout orders. Typically, 60 percent of sales is delivery, with 30 percent takeout and 10 percent dine-in.
Allowing such a business to open in an area that caters to walkers prompted some concerns.
"We don't want to create a hole in the middle of downtown Worthington," said Scott Myers, who represents Worthington City Council on the commission but does not vote.
Unlike most Jet's locations, the Worthington shop would have available seating. Twenty-seven seats are planned.
"If people come in and sit down and enjoy our pizza, I would welcome that," said Robert Couchman, who owns the Worthington franchise.
Safety was a second concern, followed by parking. The only way in and out of the parking lot is through the one-lane driveway that abuts a house on East New England Avenue. The crowded parking lot and the one-way drive have long been concerns among city officials, who have not found a way to solve the problems.
"That is one of the worst driveways in the city of Worthington," New England Avenue resident Stephan Cooke said.
Franklin Avenue resident Richard Altomore said drivers would need to be careful, but he didn't understand "what the big problem is."
"To put the burden of a narrow driveway on a business is totally unfair," he told the commission.
The tight parking lot also could cause problems for pizza delivery drivers, who would have to find places to park to pick up their orders. On an average night, four drivers would deliver.
Chris Hermann cast the only dissenting vote on the conditional-use permit, citing concerns about safety and walkability.
Chairman Richard Hunter voted for the permit but said he was torn over the issues.
"That building has been under-utilized and under-maintained for a long time," he said.