Development always piques the interest of communities, both in terms of natural curiosity and desirability. In some ways, redevelopment in established communities pokes at these issues even more.
Redevelopment and the concerns that come with it are not new to Clintonville and will remain at the forefront in 2020, at least two members of the Clintonville Area Commission contend.
CAC chairwoman B.J. White said she believes the reemergence of the former Clintonville Outfitters location as a brewpub -- Wetstone Beer Co., which anticipates opening this year following an extensive variance process focused primarily on parking -- is something the neighborhood is going to see more of in the future.
"There is developer interest (along High Street)," White said. "As shops close and restaurants and brewpubs look to open, High Street is going to have to be wet and heavy with food and beverage businesses.
"We're trying to avoid vacant lots and encourage the redevelopment of blighted sites," she said.
White said although Swensons Drive-In might have backed off its recent interest in the property at High Street and Sunnyside Lane, it was another example of a trending restaurant looking to locate along the corridor.
As with the Wetstone site, many residents and business owners are concerned with how those kinds of establishments affect parking, both along High Street and along nearby residential streets. White is forming a parking task force to engage city and community officials alongside business owners and residents in an attempt to build consensus or at least an understanding around the issue.
"I've seen a lack of parking and the issue in general used by people as a wedge issue against supporting a development," White said.
"I'd like to see if there's a way for (the CAC) to shepherd a conversation with property owners on the issue," commissioner David Vottero said.
Both White and Vottero anticipate density to be another ongoing issue facing the neighborhood in 2020 as developers look to bring more apartment projects to Clintonville and Columbus faces a continued boom in population in the coming years.
"People react both positively and negatively to these kinds of developments," Vottero said. "I think we need to have an honest discussion about apartments. If you're looking for a 2-story home, 1,200 to 1,400 square feet, there are a lot of options in the neighborhood. But if you want to downsize, or live on one floor, it's a tough market. How can we be part of a housing solution for central Ohio?"
"Growth and density are things the city and (the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) are looking at," White said, "which is why we need to be focusing on purposeful development that fulfills the purpose of our neighborhood and fits with the city plan."
White and Vottero both said they anticipate Harvest of Ohio marijuana dispensary's opening to be a big topic in the coming year -- although perhaps not as contentious a subject as once expected.
The dispensary at 2950 N. High St. has no set opening date, though others around central Ohio -- including Terrasana near Grandview Heights -- met little controversy when they opened in 2019.
"The nature of the business is not one of walk-in purchases. People need prescriptions," Vottero said.
"I think people who had misgivings have, in some respects, set them aside as they've understood that."
"It's not going to have the traffic or parking impact, at least not operating this way," White said.
"I'm eager to see them open their doors. I wish them well," Vottero said. "They did a really nice job with the building."