Gahanna's planning commission has rejected a proposal that would have brought a hotel to 4574 N. Hamilton Road.
Commission members on Feb. 27 voted 4-3 against a rezoning request by applicant David Glimcher, a partner with Blue Horseshoe Development LLC, for 1.78 acres at 4574 N. Hamilton Road to be zoned CX-1, neighborhood commercial, mixed-use district, from community-commercial-modified district.
Commission members who voted against the rezoning were Bobbie Burba, Rick Duff, Thomas Shapaka and Thomas Wester. Those who voted in favor were John Hicks, Michael Suriano and Donald Shepherd.
Wester said he couldn't support the rezoning for a pair of reasons, including how it would affect local residents, many of whom attended the meeting to oppose the hotel.
He said the other reason was a lack of compatibility with the area.
"This is 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag," Wester said. "You have to look at compatibility. How is it compatible with the traffic situation in that area?"
Wester said he thinks there are better sites for transient-traffic hotels.
Suriano said he supported the request because he believes it's consistent with the city's land-use goals for the location.
"I'm not going to comment on site plans or items that should and will be reviewed in final development plans," he said. "There are too many variables to speculate."
Suriano said he's also concerned the uses for the current zoning could be more intense than a boutique hotel at that location.
Sanctuary Place resident Bill Miller, a retired architect, said he didn't think the proposed zoning is appropriate for the site.
He said there are no 4-story buildings in the area, and it wouldn't be an ideal transition to the neighboring condominiums.
Miller said he also has a personal concern about property values.
"It creates more problems than it solves," he said.
Many residents also expressed concerns about traffic that is already a challenge at that section of North Hamilton Road during peak hours.
Rob Priestas, Gahanna's director of public service and engineering, said the primary issue is a lack of capacity on the city of Columbus' section of the roadway.
He said improvements are expected to start this year.
Glimcher said he recognizes the concerns of residents and adjoining property owners.
"I understand traffic concerns," Glimcher said. "We've conformed with the requirements of Gahanna. We're saying up to 120 keys. It might be 100. It doesn't require a full-fledged traffic study."
He said the hotel would cause more traffic but not as much as a fast-food restaurant.
"There are certain things already allowed with existing zoning," Glimcher said. "This is actually a use that would bring less traffic.
"When there's a lot of developed parcels in an area, you can't shut down development because it doesn't suit your preference. We have to look at the situation here. ... We've worked with the city ... have been back and forth. This is one of the uses the city would like to see."
Glimcher said a boutique hotel tends to be a limited-service hotel with a small service area that provides breakfast.
"It's geared to business (customers)," he said "We're talking about a hotel with a limited number of rooms."
He cited examples such as Moxy and Cambria.
In other action, the commission voted 7-0 to positively recommend council approve the rezoning of 2.87 acres at 4297 and 4301 Johnstown Road, from estate residential to suburban office and institutional.
Applicant Michael Fleitz requests the rezoning to accommodate a development with medical office uses.
The rezoning is the first step in facilitating the development of one or more new office buildings for his dental practice, along with other tenants that would include other medical and general-office uses.