By Linda Dillman
The owner and developer of more than 16 acres of Fairfield County land at the southeast corner of Diley and Busey roads feels now is the time and Canal Winchester is the place to build a mixed use development.
The site is part of a larger 38.5 acre parcel.
Shree Kulkarni, who bought the property in 2006, asked the city of Canal Winchester to rezone the parcel from planned commercial district to planned unit district in order to build a 244 unit multi-family residential and retail development.
Properties to the east of the site are multi-family apartments, to the south is planned industrial district zoning, to the west is the Canal Pointe Industrial Park, and properties to the north are large lot, single family homes in Violet Township.
During an Aug. 7 public hearing, Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said the city’s planning and zoning commission met in June and motioned for a recommendation that Canal Winchester City Council approve the request.
The ordinance was up for the first of three hearings during council’s Aug. 21 meeting.
“What we’re putting together matches what people want out of their community,” Kulkarni said. “Not everybody can afford a house. There has to be a diversity of housing stock and your study shows it. It is our belief that being in Canal Winchester is very valuable. We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
Councilman Pat Shea said the city is trying to work with him, but stated the word “apartments” generates negative feelings in town and has done so for many years.
“We’re not looking to add people to this town,” said Shea, “but people are looking to move here. If we do this, we have to make sure our residents are in agreement with this. This is a big change for this community to let this many apartments being built in one space.”
Shea said he is not trying to interfere with Kulkarni’s development rights, he is trying to do what is best for Canal Winchester.
“I just think there has to be a diversity of housing in this community,” said Kulkarni.
Other CW news
A public hearing was held regarding an Ohio Public Works funding application for roadway improvements on Winchester Boulevard west of Gender Road.
Shane Spencer, of EMH&T, presented information from a 2021 traffic analysis of Winchester Boulevard and Prentiss School Drive.
Proposed solutions and alternatives include a right in/right out movement only at the intersection with a raised median and possible bollards on the west side of Winchester Boulevard mirroring the east side of Winchester Boulevard. Another solution proposed a full access roundabout near the entrance to Kroger.
If the city’s application is approved, funding becomes available by July 2024, with construction starting in 2025.