Public hearings on legislation establishing two commercial overlays and a stream corridor protection zone for new development will be held at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 13 in council chambers.

Public hearings on legislation establishing two commercial overlays and a stream corridor protection zone for new development will be held at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 13 in council chambers.

Reynoldsburg City Council heard the first readings of the ordinances Monday.

City development director Lucas Haire said the stream corridor protection zone would establish buffers along each side of streams or creek banks in new developments.

"It's something that's being pushed by the Ohio EPA for water quality protection, and this means there will be a 25-foot vegetative strip on each bank of the creek that will be in its natural state," Haire said.

He said there are no height requirements for the vegetation, but said it should be kept in a natural growth pattern.

"It's to be preserved in its natural state it helps to keep pollutants out of the creek. It helps with erosion," Haire said. "If you have just grass planted there, you're a lot more likely to get erosion than if you have natural vegetation because the roots are deeper. It holds the soil in better."

Councilman Mel Clemens said he wonders if such a buffer zone would be something a new-home buyer would want to have running through their property.

"I know if I was buying a house and I had a nice stream running through there, I'd like to cut the grass down to its banks and keep it looking good," Clemens said. "The thing is, when you build new homes, you might have a little stream running through it and who wants it to be all weeds, you know? You like to cut it and have it look nice."

Clemens said he understands that if such buffer zones are mandated by the EPA, there isn't much he can do, but he said he will "keep questioning it as we go."

"When we have the public hearing on it maybe we can find out more about it then," he said.

Haire said the intent behind the requirement is that the areas will be likely donated to the city in the future.

"Then they cold be used as recreational trails or just a natural park area," Haire said.

"There's a big push toward the green ways now and just having these preserved in a natural state - they'll not only protect water quality, but they'll also be scenic and you could put natural trails in," he said.

The second ordinance read for the first time Monday night was to establish two zoning overlay requirements for new development, something Haire said is a continuation of the Streetscape project completed on Main Street within the last two years.

The first overlay would be placed on top of current zoning in the historic section of old Reynoldsburg, he said. It would allow any new buildings constructed in that area of town to come within 10 feet of the street instead of 40 feet, which is what is zoned currently.

"It also requires more pedestrian amenities and makes them more pedestrian-friendly and requires landscaping and signage requirements," Haire said.

He said the signage requirements would prohibit signs with internal lighting. Instead, he said, signs would be lit by old-style lighting hanging on the outside of buildings and pointed at the signs.

"Like you see in old Worthington and places like that," Haire said.

The second overlay for community commercial areas, such as along Main Street, would prohibit any signs taller than six feet.

"That will bring more uniformity here in the future," Haire said. "We want to try to attract pedestrians to these areas. The city spent so much money on the Streetscape project and the whole Main Street development that this just adds another layer of protection. It's ensuring that we'll have quality buildings being built," he said.

"It sets a certain standard, sets the bar for Reynoldsburg basically, and it helps developers know their investment is going to be protected because we're making everyone else build the same quality."