More mixed use considered for Old Town Canal Winchester area

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Changes could be coming in Canal Winchester’s Old Town Commercial Zoning District following proposed amendments discussed during a July 2 public hearing.

Development Director Lucas Haire presented the changes, which would amend city code to allow mixed use structures incorporating residential dwellings with commercial development.

“Multi-family residential would be permitted within a mixed use building provided no less than 70 percent of the ground floor is used for commercial purposes open to the public,” said Haire.

According to the proposed changes, a mixed use structure cannot exceed residential density greater than 20 units an acre or 24 per building. Currently, the standard is four units per acre.

“This would establish mixed use,” said Haire. “A number of other communities in the area put a gym on the first floor that is open to residents, but not to the public.”

Canal Winchester’s mixed use ordinance would require the majority of first floor commercial space to be open to the public, such as restaurants, retail and office space. The ordinance would also establish parking requirements for a mixed use building.

A number of allowed uses would be removed from the current code within the mixed use portion of the Old Town commercial zoning district including laundromats, amusement arcades, package stores, mini warehouses and self-storage facilities.

“Most mixed uses are on High and Waterloo streets,” said Haire, who told Canal Winchester City Council that, under the new proposal, some current sites would exceed requirements. “People said they wanted to see a variety of housing plans (within a mixed use area).”

Haire said by changing the density a little, more mixed use commercial development could be supported.

“I think it’s great,” said Councilman Will Bennett. “I think this addition (mixed use) will be a nice addition.”

Councilman Patrick Lynch said he was in favor of development within the downtown area, but said height requirements helped quell previous developments. The proposed ordinance would limit structures to three stories or 40 feet.

“We haven’t seen any mixed use development because of restrictions,” said Haire, who added any development must still meet the landmark’s commission standards. “It is not out of character to have a 40 foot building.”

Council Chairman Bruce Jarvis said council will continue moving forward with the proposed amendment, albeit with some “fine tuning” along the way before a final reading.

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