By Sandi Latimer
The Greater Hilltop Area Commission (GHAC) approved two zoning requests on Aug. 13, which concerned redevelopment projects in the area.
One request regarded the former K-Mart building on West Broad Street. Representative Donald Leach, an attorney for Dinsmore and Shohl, said his clients want to erect outdoor and indoor storage in the back lot, with retail space out front.
“I’m hoping for a bank and a restaurant,” Leach said.
Original plans for the site were overnight parking, but it is now slated to become storage for recreational vehicles. Some commission members said they liked the change, while others disapproved of the plan.
“It seems as though we have more than enough storage units in the area,” GHAC member Jay McCallister said. “I’m interested in retail.”
GHAC chair Chuck Patterson said the area is saturated with storage space, a feeling echoed by fellow commissioner Greg Large.
“If they build it, they will come‚ doesn’t work here,” GHAC member Tasha Corson said.
The second zoning request concerned a group home, The Refuge, located on Sullivant Avenue called. The organization helps adult males overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
The building is zoned in a residential area, according to officials. The developers want a variance to include the group home.
The Refuge spokesman Bob Holycross said this would be the fourth facility on the Westside where the faith-based program has operated for more than 10 years.
“We’re working to change their lives and produce responsible men of God,” Holycross said.
The program helps men with job training, overcoming financial problems and reconcile with their families in addition to getting them over addiction, he said.
The GHAC opened dialogue with residents on what projects should be funded in the community.
Voters will decide the fate of a bond issue on Nov. 5, which could provide money for neighborhood initiatives. GHAC chair Chuck Patterson asked for a list of projects at the Aug. 13 meeting.
Patterson said he wanted to see 10 suggestions submitted by Aug. 24. A list of the top six projects would be forwarded to Columbus City Council by Sept. 3, when council members return from summer vacation.
Residents can send ideas through the commission’s website at www.theghac.com.