Columbus Southeast Plan to be amended

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 Map courtesy of the city of Columbus
 Conceptual development plan for the Bixby Road Amendment.

The rich farm lands surrounding Bixby Road that once sprouted corn and beans could soon blossom with office parks.

The proposed Bixby Road Amendment to the city of Columbus’ evolving Southeast Plan would revise development plans for a 243 acre area along Bixby Road north of U.S. Route 33 to include proposals for a suburban office district.

"Our goal is to create a vision for the area that would develop it as a suburban office district," said Vince Papsidero, planning administrator for the city of Columbus. "Offices make good neighbors for nearby residential areas because they generate less traffic than retail development."


The Bixby Road Amendment

Columbus adopted its Southeast Plan in 2000 to provide guidance using traditional neighborhood development zoning – which is a mixed use of one family and multi-family residential and retail – for the development of an area bounded roughly by Blacklick Creek on the north and west, U.S. 33 on the south, and Fairfield County on the east.

The proposed Bixby Road Amendment to the Southeast Plan encompasses an area straddling Bixby Road north of U.S. 33 that originally called for future residential development. The amendment would change plans for land use in the area in anticipation of the future construction of the Bixby Road/U.S. 33 interchange. (Construction could begin on the interchange by 2011.) The Bixby Road Amendment calls for:

•freeway scale office (similar to the typical office park found along interstates in central Ohio) and limited community commercial (retail with small square footage, such as a drug store, not "big box retail") development along U.S. 33;

•town center (mixed use residential,  retail, office) development north of Bixby Road;

•neighborhood scale office (small structure offices such as doctor’s offices or realtors) development on both sides of Bixby Road;

•a network of multi-purpose fitness and recreational trails that would connect to  the area’s regional trail system;

•stormwater management system.

To view the complete Southeast Plan and Bixby Road Amendment, visit the "plans and overlays" section at www.columbus.gov.

"We’re trying to position the plan to take advantage of its location and to be able to have long term benefits for the city," said Papsidero. "We don’t want to strip out the area with retail."

Papsidero said the idea is to create a suburban office district that is pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

"It will be a walkable area. There’s value in connecting trails because it gives people alternatives to driving," noted Papsidero.

Road improvement proposals

According to the amendment, major upgrades to Bixby Road and surrounding roads would be needed to accommodate the proposed developments and the interchange.

"Road improvements would come with the development," said Papsidero.

The plan calls for future improvements to the following roads: Gender Road from U.S. 33 to Chantry Drive; Lehman Road/Bixby Road connector; Bixby Road reconstruction from U.S. 33 to Winchester Pike; Bixby Road, Brice Road, Winchester Pike intersection; Shannon Road; Brice Road from Shannon Road to Bixby Road; Brice Road/Shannon Road intersection; Ebright Road/Winchester Pike intersection; Lehman Road from Gender Road to Bowen Road; Busey Road connector from Gender Road to Bowen Road; Hines Road/Refugee Road intersection; and Winchester Pike from Ebright Road to Gender Road.

Timetables & annexation possibilities

Papsidero said no timetable has been established for the construction of the developments described in the Bixby Road Amendment.

"This is a policy concept setting standards meant to guide future private developers when property owners choose to sell their land to developers," said Papsidero.

Regarding the potential for Columbus to extend south of U.S. 33 in the area, Papsidero said annexation is up to area land owners. He added the Southeast Plan’s southern boundary is "pretty much set" at U.S. 33 and that Columbus’ growth is projected to the east and north.

Groveport and Bixby Road/U.S. 33

Most of the land south of U.S. 33 near the proposed Bixby Road interchange is located in rural Madison Township. Whether these lands are eventually annexed to Columbus, Groveport, or Canal Winchester is up to the individual property owners.

However, land located east of Ebright Road, north of Bixby Road and south of U.S. 33 is in the village of Groveport. According to Groveport Village Administrator Jon Crusey, this section of land is zoned rural.

Crusey said Groveport is working on a draft master plan for development near the Bixby Road interchange. He said village officials are looking at light commercial, office, and some retail development for the area.

"It would be a planned district most likely, which means the village can maintain a tight control on what’s developed," said Crusey.

Groveport’s plans for development in the area somewhat mirror the plans Columbus has under its Bixby Road Amendment to its Southeast Plan.

"One development attracts another," observed Crusey. "They feed off of each other. It’s all about traffic and rooftops."

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