There are plenty of signs that the new Katalina's restaurant at 3481 N. High St. likely will be as popular as the original one in Harrison West, a lines-out-the-door brunch spot on weekend mornings.
At least three signs will guide diners to the Clintonville location, provided the members of the city's graphics commission follow a recommendation made March 7 by the Clintonville Area Commission.
The CAC gave its unanimous blessing to a roof sign mimicking the marquee-like one on the former gas station that's home to the original Katalina's, as well as stenciled signs on the north and south walls of the Clintonville site.
District 1 representative David Vottero abstained from the vote due to a "business relationship with the owner of the building."
Architect Tim Bass represented Katalina's owner Kathleen Day during the zoning and variance portion of the commission's March meeting. An urban commercial overlay in that stretch of North High Street prohibits roof signs and "sidewall signage" on buildings that are under 40 feet tall, Bass said in explaining the need for the variances.
"According to the graphics code, we wouldn't have needed any variances for the front and side wall based on frontage and normal conditions," Bass said. "The roof sign triggers what's called a graphics action, which triggered the variance, and the variance in that case is only the fact that our building is not 40 feet tall. To have a roof sign, you have to do a graphics plan, and that is for big places like the hospitals, OSU."
Bass also explained that there had been a "snafu" when the sign vendor inadvertently cited the wrong section of code in applying for the variance.
Two area commission members practically gushed in their praise for the transformation of the former fountain-pen shop.
"It's creative and it's pretty and I like it," Dana Bagwell of District 5 said.
"It's really got curb appeal," District 4's Judy Minister said. "Thanks for coming to our neighborhood."
No one from the public commented when Chairwoman Libby Wetherholt opened the floor.
Day, who was present at the meeting but didn't speak, has said she hopes the Clintonville Katalina's will open by late spring or early summer.
Also at the March 7 session, commission members wrestled with and eventually approved a request to permit a four-car garage 896 square feet in size for a home in the 100 block of West Dominion Boulevard.
Attorney Michael Cassone represented the homeowner, listed on the application as Kendra Carpenter.
The contractor originally hired to construct the garage allegedly took the owner's money and started the project, then walked away, Cassone said. It was only when city officials issued a stop-work order on the garage that the owners realized the contractor failed to obtain any of the needed permits, the attorney said.
That, Cassone told commission members, represented the hardship for his client.
"I'm not sure it's up to us to provide relief for a problem, and I'm sorry to say this, that you got into yourself," Vottero said.
When the vote on the garage variance was taken, Minister, Khara Nemitz of District 2 and John Eschenbrenner of District 7 opposed the request.
Vottero, in spite of his earlier comment, was joined in voting to approve it by Bagwell, Wetherholt, Randy Ketcham of District 6, Christopher Allwein of District 8 and B.J. White of District 9.
At the conclusion of the meeting, as papers were being gathered and people were putting on their coats, a visibly angry Minister chastised her colleagues for setting what she considered to be a dangerous precedent by approving a four-car garage.
"If you voted for this without driving by and taking a look, shame on you," Minister said.