A developer came to the Columbus South Side Area Commission in March with a proposal to build a restaurant and bar -- perhaps a brewpub -- and a five-unit, three-story apartment building on the site of a vacant appliance store on East Whittier Street.
It is in a part of south Columbus that has seen a burst of development and redevelopment of housing and businesses in the past few years.
Although many people welcome the new project at 364 E. Whittier St., others are concerned the city has not kept up with the strains on parking in the increasingly congested neighborhoods of Schumacher Place and Merion Village west of Parsons Avenue.
"Where are all these people going to park?" said Jim Griffin, who leads the area commission. He wonders whether the area might become like the Short North area, where the city started enforcing new parking regulations in February.
In the past year, the city created a parking plan on the northeast corner of Schumacher Place, where Nationwide Children's Hospital employees had been parking.
Street parking there is limited to three hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, except for residents who bought permits.
"It's not working ideally," said Brenda Gischel, who leads the Schumacher Place Civic Association. Although the restrictions have kept hospital employees out, the plan didn't consider all of the new Parsons Avenue businesses.
That includes new places that immediately became popular, such as the restaurant Comune, Parsons North Brewing and Jimmyluka's Bar and Deli, not to mention the venerable Plank's Cafe and Pizzeria.
In the Whittier Avenue proposal, both the Schumacher Place association and the area commissioners voted against a variance to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 47 to five.
David Hodge, a zoning lawyer for developer Aaron Kreais, said the area is already parking-deficient, and his project won't make much of a difference. Hodge also said Central Ohio Transit Authority buses run along Whittier.
Brian Higgins of the Parsons Avenue Redevelopment Corp. said that Parsons Avenue lost 40 percent of its on-street parking when the city redesigned the road to include a center turn lane and concrete bump-outs to slow traffic between Livingston Avenue and Hosack Street. He said his group, plus the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association and the area commission, have asked the city to conduct a parking study.
Robert Ferrin, Columbus' assistant director for parking services, said highly localized parking crunches develop at times, but parking generally is available in south Columbus.
Nevertheless, the city has hired a consultant to do a strategic parking plan for Schumacher Place, German Village and the Brewery District, plus downtown Columbus, the University District and Franklinton, he said.
Ferrin is to meet with Schumacher Place residents May 14 to talk about parking.
Seth Draeger, one of the owners of Parsons North, said the owners of an IGA grocery store across the street lets his customers park there after 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.
He said Parsons North is encouraging patrons to use other forms of transportation and is installing a bike rack.
The Parsons North owners had an agreement with the owners of the Aetna Integrated Services building at 646 Parsons Ave. to park cars there at night until Nationwide Children's Hospital bought the 0.7-acre site for $2.8 million in late 2018.