The Reynoldsburg Planning Commission unanimously approved the first overhaul to the city's zoning code since the Beatles had a No. 1 record.

The commission voted Feb. 13 to approve a new 268-page zoning code after more than a year of work.

Based on the 2018 comprehensive plan, the new zoning code strives to create mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods with higher densities near certain "corridors," along East Main Street, including the intersection of East Main and Brice Road.

It includes special development considerations in areas like Olde Reynoldsburg and classifies about 3,200 acres, mostly around the Interstate 70/270 interchange, as Innovation Districts.

Those districts are intended for new "economic centers that will serve Reynoldsburg and surrounding communities."

The code encourages the reuse of commercial areas and recommends moving new retail developments closer to the street, with parking at the rear.

Council must vote to adopt the new zoning code.

Council members are expected to discuss the legislation Monday, Feb. 24, with a final vote scheduled for March 23, city officials said.

Reynoldsburg last enacted a zoning code in 1969, and it has undergone piecemeal changes since, officials said.

Planning Commission member Steven Hicks said revamping a zoning code that was 50 years old is among "the most important things we'll do here on Planning Commission."

Innovation Districts have the potential to "completely change the dynamic" for the surrounding neighborhoods while creating income-tax revenue for the city, and plans for Olde Reynoldsburg along Main Street will help make the area "more of an amenity for the city," he said.

"I'm excited for the future of Reynoldsburg," Hicks said. "I think it's also exciting that people are talking about Reynoldsburg now and there are really good companies that want to bring their products here."

The new code proposes two types of zoning related to housing: suburban residential (SR) and residential medium (RM).

SR zoning allows for traditional single-family homes with off-street parking but also accommodates "multiple forms of single-family development, including attached single-family dwellings," according to the code.

RM zoning introduces a "more diverse range of housing options, including two-family buildings, townhomes, row houses and apartments."

The code calls for future developments in the RM zones to be "well integrated with surrounding uses while allowing for more compact development to accommodate growth."

Residents along Waggoner Road successfully lobbied to keep about 30 acres along the road zoned SR. Those parcels were proposed to change to allow multifamily housing.

Although apartments will not be allowed along Waggoner Road, the new map contains about 30 acres of undeveloped property that will be zoned RM, city officials said. The largest area, about 24 acres, is near Taylor Road and E. Main Street.

New multifamily buildings will be limited to 3 stories in height under RM zoning.

Insight Districts, mostly found along East Main Street, allow for mixed-use developments like Creekside in Gahanna or Bridge Park in Dublin. Those buildings could climb as high as 7 stories, with retail and office space on the lower floors and housing above.

Otherwise, not much has changed in the plan since it was proposed last year, said Andrew Bowsher, development director.

The city held an open house in the fall and sought input from a steering committee in addition to work done by Cincinnati-based Calfee Zoning.

Council early last year approved a $135,000 contract with Calfee for its work in drafting the new code.

For more information on the new zoning code and map, visit reynoldsburgcode.com.

The next planning commission meeting is 6 p.m. March 5 at City Hall, 7232 E. Main St.

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