After more than five years of planning, Worthington City Council may pass legislation aimed at reshaping the Wilson Bridge Road corridor.

After more than five years of planning, Worthington City Council may pass legislation aimed at reshaping the Wilson Bridge Road corridor.

At their regular meeting Monday, April 4, council members will hear a proposal to set up new zoning categories for the area, which stretches along Wilson Bridge Road and High Street just south of Interstate 270.

The new categories would include medium density residential housing, professional office, mixed-use and office space.

Properties covered under the new zoning plan will not be forced to rezone or conform to the ideas or change anything at all. Instead, the concept is to provide a reason for them to do so, such as different building height or setback restrictions.

"It's to give a little incentive to the property owner or developer coming in to want to redevelop instead of having it stay as the status quo," Planning and Building Director Lee Brown said. "What we've seen in that corridor is that it's not bad, but what incentive is there to do an improvement? ... It's kind of trying to figure out that balance to where it's mutually beneficial to the city, residents and the property owner."

Despite several public meetings and sharing information on the city's website, Brown and other city staffers are still trying to spread the word that the new zoning categories won't be changing anything for current residents or business owners in the area.

With issues such as the redevelopment of the High Street Holiday Inn site or the looming United Methodist Children's Home site redevelopment, that confusion has people jumping to conclusions.

"There's such a misunderstanding of what it is and what's going on," Brown said. "And with the timing of the Holiday Inn and passage of Issue 38 and UMCH, it's, 'What's going on?' "

The area is one that city leaders view as an important corridor for the landlocked city's future.

City Manager Matt Greeson called the corridor a "linchpin of the community," saying it was "particularly important" to get new guidelines in place.

"East Wilson Bridge Road does not have the character that we want to see in this community," he said.

To change that character, Brown said he hopes the new zoning categories will push developments in the right direction.

"I think it will help," he said. "The real big thing has been the misunderstanding of what you can actually control as a board. Having the enhanced guidelines and development standards, we can work with a redevelopment property and have a little more teeth to it."

Council's vote on the legislation is slated for April 18.

@ThisWeekAndrew