An "educational kitchen" and tiny store should be allowed to open in a house at 3870 N. High St., even though the Clintonville Neighborhood Plan rules out additional retail in that area, commissioners decided unanimously at last week's meeting.

An "educational kitchen" and tiny store should be allowed to open in a house at 3870 N. High St., even though the Clintonville Neighborhood Plan rules out additional retail in that area, commissioners decided unanimously at last week's meeting.

Tricia Wheeler, who launched the nearby Seasoned Farmhouse recreational cooking school last year, needs a variance from Columbus City Council in order to supplement her enterprise with a space to teach bread-making and also allow for sales of the product along with flower arrangements. Sarah Black, a baker with 25 years of experience, will lead that aspect of the operation, Wheeler told Clintonville Area Commission members in seeking their backing.

Wheeler pointed out that the former private home at 3870 N. High St. had been vacant for more than a year and probably would stay that way without approval of her proposal. She added that being able to expand her cooking classes with the additional location was in response to an "overwhelming demand."

At the CAC's zoning and variance committee meeting, during which the council variance request was considered earlier last week, Chairwoman Dana Bagwell said members voted 5-4 in favor. Those who opposed it, she added, did so on the basis of the Clintonville Neighborhood Plan calling for that area to be "green district" without any additional commercial activity.

At the committee session, Bagwell said Wheeler agreed to restrict retail operations in the bread school to 25 percent of the structure's first floor, which amounts to about 300 square feet. Chairman Daniel B. Miller termed that "incredibly small for retail."

Several residents addressed the area commission to urge them to approve the Seasoned Farmhouse annex, including Clintonville Farmers Market founder Lynne Genter.

"I think this fits in very well with our community," she said.

"I see this as an asset for the neighborhood," added Kristopher Keller, who represents District 8.

Also at last week's CAC meeting -- the final one of 2014 -- Miller brought up the possibility of holding a special session devoted solely to the Neighborhood Plan -- a kind of workshop session to fine-tune the document. With District 9 representative D Searcy busy for much of the month of January, Miller said he was looking at Feb. 16 as a day when the meeting room at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library was available.

A final decision on the special session was put off until the first meeting of 2015, which commission members voted last week to move to Jan. 8.

The normal meeting schedule of the first Thursday of the month would have seen that session fall on New Year's Day.