Reynoldsburg City Council eyes tweaks to new zoning code

Lee Cochran
ThisWeek group
Reynoldsburg City Hall

Six months after approving it, Reynoldsburg City Council will reconsider parts of the city’s new zoning code. 

Council held a work session Sept. 28 to discuss potential changes to the zoning code, with plans for a first reading of proposed changes at its meeting Monday, Oct. 12, meeting, to be followed by public hearings at the Nov. 5 planning commission meeting and at City Council’s Nov. 9 session, said Chris Shook, city attorney.

Under that timeline, council would take a final vote on the revised code at its Nov. 23 meeting, with the new rules taking effect Dec. 23, Shook said.  

“We’re getting more familiar with it and some of the things that we like and some of the things that we probably don’t like,” he said. “We are leaving it open for council members to make any recommendations for changes ... on this zoning code going forward.  

“This is to ensure that any potential issues that we’ve noticed with the zoning code get cleared up. This isn’t something that we want to bring back to the city on an annual basis but nonetheless, there are some issues that we’ve identified.”  

Council approved the city’s first zoning-code overhaul in 50 years on March 23.  

Based on the city’s 2018 comprehensive plan, the 268-page 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. 

The plan includes special development considerations in areas such as Olde Reynoldsburg and classifies about 3,200 acres – mostly around the Interstate 70/270 interchange – as innovation districts intended to be new “economic centers that will serve Reynoldsburg and surrounding communities.”  

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

 Cincinnati-based Calfee Zoning was paid $135,000 to help draft the new zoning code and, together with city staff members, spent more than a year on the rewrite. The city sought public input through open houses, a special website and a steering committee. 

Many of the proposed tweaks are for items such as correcting grammatical errors, adjusting the setbacks in some commercial areas and clarifying the sign code so it is easier for businesses to understand, officials said.  

Other changes could be more significant: Revisiting the city’s approach to specific areas, including near the intersection of Livingston Avenue and Brice Road and lowering the maximum heights of buildings permitted in certain areas to “bring those into a more realistic compliance,” said Andrew Bowsher, city development director.  

“We’re taking lessons learned and we’re just making it better at this point,” he said. “Sometimes it’s perfect in your head, and that doesn’t always necessarily work out on paper. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into specific things.”  

The proposed revisions are not in response to any specific development or proposal, officials said.  

Councilman Stacie Baker called council’s reconsideration of the code a “halftime” that will allow the city to make adjustments. 

“It is a living document and we want to make sure it grows along with the city,” he said.   

For more information, visit reynoldsburgcode.com. 

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