By Christine Bryant
A public hearing to address the rezoning of property belonging to Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church provided a few more details into possible plans to construct a family center.
Eric Snowden, planning administrator for the city of Reynoldsburg, said at a March 14 public hearing various pieces of the church’s property located on Graham Road are zoned differently. The ordinance that is currently placed before council would rezone the entire property owned by the church so it would fall under one zoning label.
After church representatives approached the city to discuss potential plans of developing a family center, city officials suggested conforming the zoning district, Snowden said. Currently, part of the land owned by the church is zoned S-1 Special District, which permits schools, institutions and public uses. Various plots of land acquired through the years, however, are still zoned residential.
While churches are permitted on parcels zoned residential, the setbacks and lot area regulations are different, Snowden said.
At the public hearing, Councilman Barth Cotner inquired about the amount of traffic adding additional facilities to the church’s property would produce on Graham Road.
Joseph Pax, senior project manager with Keiser Design Group, said the firm conducted a traffic study analysis in November on behalf of the church. Any additional facilities constructed on the property would primarily be used on Saturdays, therefore not affecting traffic flow during heavy peaks, he said.
The church and its developers are also looking at proposing a new entry drive on the south side of the property to help alleviate traffic onto Graham Road, Pax said.
The proposed ordinance to amend the zoning of the church’s property will head back to the planning commission for further review, before returning to council for approval. Once that occurs, the church would then submit a major site plan to the city and begin the process of seeking approval for the construction of a family center, should it choose to continue with its plans, Snowden said.
Karin Dragonette of the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church said previously that one of the current unmet needs in the Reynoldsburg community is the availability of event space for programs, meetings, meals and recreation.
“As a first step to determining how to best meet that need, we are assuring that the land south of our existing buildings (which we purchased several years ago) is zoned appropriately,” she said. “Ours is a missional church serving the world – beginning with those right here in our neighborhood. We believe one way we can accomplish this mission is to become a thriving hub of life and a center for learning, working and playing in our community.”