By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester, a designated National Arbor Day Tree City for more than two decades, is moving forward with plans to update its landscaping/screening code and residential appearance standards.
Canal Winchester City Council held a public hearing on Dec. 3 to discuss legislation that Development Director Lucas Haire said “adds an extra layer of protection” for a landscaping and screening map created in 2006.
“We want to make it more clear what is a woodland and what is not,” said Haire. “The intent of the ordinance is to promote, protect and preserve the character of the municipality.”
Preservation of major trees, in danger of removal due to land development, is stressed, but if it is necessary, guidelines determining replacement include trunk diameter, height and a replacement schedule according to the diameter of trees removed during the development process.
Major tree removal exemptions include location within a right-of-way or easement; location in areas covered by proposed structures or driveways; damage, disease or safety; or an undesired species in its present location.
Established single-family lots are exempt, but new single-family subdivision developments will not be.
According to the code, a woodland is an area of trees and unique site characteristics determined by the city and identified on the city’s woodland map.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Andrew Moore said new sections of the code define tree caliper, what constitutes a “major” tree and woodland areas.
Moore discussed changes to the code regulating residential appearance standards.
“Over the past several years I’ve been working on updating the zoning code one chapter at a time,” said Moore.
A committee working with the planning and zoning department looked at
adopting new standards with definitions clarified for developers and cleaning up code language.
“We discussed architectural diversity to discourage the appearance of tract-type housing,” said Moore. “The front entry needs to be the focal point of the house.
The committee focused on design elements such as the front door, making the garage a secondary design element, defining finished building materials and requiring gutters and downspouts on all new builds.
Proposed code changes include guidelines for constructing vinyl-sided homes and architectural elements. An allowance for a detached garage is also included.
“I think this is a great step in moving forward in how we develop Canal Winchester,” said Councilman Pat Lynch.
Council President Bruce Jarvis lauded the effort.
“I feel this is a really good piece of staff work,” said Jarvis. “It’s certainly much better than what we have on the books. I think you nailed it.”
The public hearing also included a request to amend city code rezoning 69 acres on the north side of Winchester Boulevard near Kroger from exceptional use to limited manufacturing.
The property is owned by Gender/Thirty Three and the OPUS company wants to construct a pair of large-scale buildings on a speculation basis. Company representative Doug Swain said access and proximity to U.S. Route 33, along with a good labor force and location amenities are attractive.
“We like it (location) for a combination of all that,” said Swain. “We like the ease of doing business here.”