McDonald's customers should have a quicker drive-thru experience at 298 S. Hamilton Road by the end of the year.

The Gahanna Planning Commission unanimously approved legislation Sept. 11 to allow for the installation of new McDonald's digital menu boards.

Voting favorably for the new menu boards were John Hicks, Michael Suriano, Bobbie Burba, Michael Greenberg, Thomas Shapaka, Michael Tamarkin and Thomas Wester.

Applicant David Ratliff of Site Enhancement Services of South Bend, Indiana, said the menu boards use new digital technology to create an overall aesthetic balance and improve the customer experience.

"It's designed to make the customer's experience faster, and that makes for a happy customer," Ratliff said. "That's what McDonald's is going for."

He said the menu boards would have the same information but would be more concise.

The board size will be reduced from 45 square feet to 20 square feet, Ratliff said.

Planning chairman John Hicks said the menu boards tend to help his family make selections more quickly when he sits in the drive-thru, so he favors the improvement.

"To me, this is an update of something neutral in terms of the effect it will have," Suriano said. "I don't necessarily consider this a sign. The spirit of (the) electronic sign is about distraction and blinking and I don't think (it's) that."

Ratliff said it's a nationwide initiative of McDonald's, and the goal is to replace the menu boards by the end of the year.

The commission also unanimously approved legislation to change landscaping at Stoneridge Plaza, 1365 Stoneridge Drive.

Applicant Michael Moulton of Five Seasons Landscape in Reynoldsburg said the legislation is for the redevelopment of the landscape plan.

"Most of the trees being removed are Bradford pears," he said. "Many are damaged. These are getting to the age where they will get wind and storm damage. We're replacing them east and west with the hackberry and north and south with parrotia (persica). Those are hardy."

Moulton said most landscape mounds also would have plants replaced, improving visibility with plantings growing no more than 8 inches tall.

The commission also approved recommended changes to the city's land-use plan.

A final development plan, design review and variances for Eastgate Commercial Park, 6579 Taylor Road, were postponed to Wednesday, Sept. 25, to allow legal counsel to address issues, Hicks said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla