Sometimes, development is about more than just construction or renovation of buildings. And sometimes, parking is about more than where you leave your car.
That's why Clintonville Area Commission chairwoman B.J. White, in pursuit of a more comprehensive approach to the ongoing issues in the neighborhood, is working to create a parking task force.
White proposed the effort during the Dec. 5 CAC meeting as a way of both providing a sounding board on the subject for residents and businesses and having an ongoing discussion not related to a single development or issue before the commission -- one that might prove helpful as the community deals with future development considerations.
White said she already has approached officials from the city of Columbus and a few Clintonville businesses and residents about the task force, which will look primarily at development along High Street and how it impacts parking at businesses, in lots and on side streets. She said additional community volunteers are invited.
"I'm just trying to spark some interest in thinking about ways to address the issue," White said.
She pointed to specific parking variances that recently have come before the CAC -- for Katalina's, 3481 N. High St., and, more recently, for Wetstone Beer Co., 2864 N. High St. -- as the kinds of issues that have required detailed study and creative partnerships.
"(Wetstone) did a parking study; they came back with some changes and, in the end, fulfilled all of the city planner's requests," White said. "What I learned, though, is that parking doesn't need to be resolved only by the developer but (also) by the commission and the city."
In that case, developer Evan Fracasso sought and was granted approval to open the brewpub with 10 parking spaces instead of the 43 required by zoning code.
White said she hopes to encourage more shared-use lots -- in particular for developments that include restaurants and pubs, which use parking at different times from medical or other offices, retail shops and churches, for example.
"I know it's been done in Worthington, and Wetstone did a shared agreement," she said. "I'd like to work cooperatively with businesses, maybe beta-test some more partnerships and see if we can make a difference."
Commissioner David Vottero concurred with the need to think creatively about parking.
"It makes sense to have this kind of public forum. Certainly, different parts of High Street have different issues relative to parking, and there is room for a whole range of approaches in the neighborhood," Vottero said.
"It's a good conversation to have and one (the CAC) can shepherd with property owners," he said.
The task force will begin meeting in January. White intends for the group to continue gathering regularly for one year, unless disbanded by the CAC sooner.
"Something like this hasn't been attempted before," White said.
"I just hope to engage everyone together on the issue."