City adopts Greater Hilltop Plan
On Oct. 4, Columbus City Council moved to adopt the Greater Hilltop Plan Amendment, which will push several overlay projects for the area into their implementation phase.
According to Columbus Senior Planner Christine Palmer, the goal of the overlays is to create a safe, aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere through the West Broad Street corridor.
“We’re already at the implementation phase,” Palmer said, noting that projects with this level involvement do not usually move so quickly. “You could guess the casino has something to do with this.”
Within the Greater Hilltop Plan Amendment are three project timelines; a Regional Commercial Overlay in the West Broad/Wilson Road/Georgesville Road area, an Urban Commercial Overlay, and a Community Commercial Overlay for the West Broad/Westgate area. These component areas make up the corridor, or passageway, pedestrians or vehicles would take in route to the future casino. Therefore, they are being marked as priority.
“Overlay is your best tool to getting a nicer corridor,” Palmer added.
During the Oct. 5 meeting of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission, commissioners voted unanimously to support the Greater Hilltop Plan Amendment. Commission Chairman Chuck Patterson commented that he supports the overlay because the corridor has currently been a “hodgepodge” and would like to see a more uniformed plan.
“The key element to commercial overlays is for new developments,” Palmer said, and commented that Columbus has older zoning regulations. “It’s a long term tool.”
She added that while improvements do not happen overnight, when development does take place it takes place in uniform and looks best.
The overlays will be applied under an existing zoning district, but will install additional standards and requirements. Each of the commercial overlays aim to revamp an area by improving the quality of surface parking, make all signs compatible in dimensions and locations, create continuity between building and parking setbacks, and standardize other aesthetically pleasing standards.
Also through the three overlays, unique architecture will be protected, pedestrian-oriented development will be encouraged and more landscaping and lighting will be administered to the areas.
Palmer assured residents and commissioners that the Planning Division wishes to reach out for community support and appreciates the feedback from local neighborhoods and businesses.
Therefore, they will be holding an open house at the Haydocy Showroom on West Broad Street on Nov. 4 in conjunction with Franklin County, who will also be showcasing the overlay plan for their portion of the community.