By Sandi Latimer
Questions and concerns about a resident operating a day care center out of her home in one Columbus development drew a full crowd to the Westland Area Commission meeting.
The applicant was not able to attend that meeting, so the request for a variance to operate a daycare center was deferred.
Mike McKay, the commission’s zoning chairman, explained at the February meeting, that the applicant wishes to operate a day care center out of the family home in a development near the Prairie Township Community Center.
The applicant could operate such a business without any variance if the individual cared for fewer than six children, but would need the variance through the city for between seven and 12 children.
Residents said their development is zoned residential and is not for business.
Janet Cahill, who represents the homeowners association, said the applicant had not come to that group to request anything.
“If we allow this, someone could come along and open a dog kennel, a body shop,” said resident Joyce Kirk. “What is there to stop it? People who have bought houses but not yet moved in, don’t they have to be notified?”
Another resident, Rick Mahan, was also against the variance proposal.
“I’m all for people making money, but not where I live. It’s residential; leave it residential,” he said.
Commissioner plans to take up the request at the March meeting.
After that issue was set aside, residents stayed for further discussions at the meeting, and raised some of their own.
When business and development chair Bill Steimer talked about the traffic flow on Rome- Hilliard Road on either side of I-70, Kirk mentioned that a lot of the heavy traffic comes from having to wait at the railroad tracks. She wanted to know what could be done to ease the problem.
The current pattern has four lanes starting at the freeway and going north, but only two lanes going south.
Steimer said the city had set aside money on two occasions, that he knows of and it was moved to other projects.
“What is going to happen when Menard’s moves in?” Kirk asked.
Menard’s has purchased land south of the freeway to build a hardware/home building store.
Another much talked-about way to ease that traffic problem was to build an overpass from North Galloway Road.
“Who do we have to contact about the road?” Kirk asked
Steimer said it would have to go through the city.
In other news, commissioner Nancy Day-Achauer said that Lutheran Social Services closed its food pantry at 82 N. Wilson Road in the Great Western Shopping Center.
“They’re going to a new system,” she said.
People in need of food will place orders online and pick it up at community centers at Westgate Park, Glenwood and Dodge Recreation Center.
“These are not on the bus line and there are concerns that people who rely on COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) will not be able to get their food.
She mentioned that a couple of nearby pantries would be able to serve people – Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church at 3500 E. Main St. in Hilliard, and Crossroads United Methodist Church at 1100 S. Hague Ave.
Marian Hymer added that Westland Ecumenical pantry operates out of Columbia Heights United Methodist Church at 775 S. Galloway Rd., but that pantry only delivers to people who are unable to drive to a pantry.
The next commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 21, on the second floor of the Osteopathic Heritage Center at Doctors Hospital.