Gahanna’s New Incentives, Development Plans Bear Fruit

Original story by Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

In 16 months, the city of Gahanna has seen four commercial developments after years of little or no major commercial construction. City officials say that’s because of a long-term plan to promote commercial real estate development.

This week, a 262,500-square-foot speculative warehouse was announced is the largest new construction in Gahanna in 15 years. And the project – spearheaded by developer Fed One and property owner Value Recovery Group – will be the third largest structure in the city.

In 2016, Gahanna created a 10-year plan to promote diverse real estate development in the city. The plan included adding 800,000 square feet of industrial space and 700 more housing units, especially new apartments and senior housing – something residents want, said Anthony Jones, the city’s director of planning and development.

Part of that strategy involved a host of incentives formulated last year, including one for site preparation costs and another for assistance with annexation into Gahanna. Both are intended to ease the process for current landowners to redevelop their sites.

About 55 percent of the city’s land is residential, and of that, about 88 percent of the residential land is single-family homes. Most of the apartment stock in the city is at least 20 years old, Jones said.

“We need to have more options for this housing, and a plan will recognize what locations in the city are best suited to accommodate that,” he said.

Kenny McDonald, president and CEO of Columbus 2020, said suburbs play a role in spurring real estate development, which has gained importance as the population swells.

“We have to be more prepared than ever, physically, and only about a quarter of our cities have a land use plan,” McDonald said. “The population growth factor is more important than ever … because there’s a cocktail of factors that makes finding workforce harder than ever.”

There are challenges. For example, a tax increase intended in part to support infrastructure investments failed at the ballot last year. Mayor Tom Kneeland said it would be back on the ballot, “Not if, but when.”

State of the City to Take Place on March 14

Join Mayor Kneeland and the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce for their first joint State of the City Address on Thursday, March 14. This year’s event will take place at The Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 N. High Street. A meet and greet with the City administration, area businesses and community organizations will take place at 6 p.m., and the presentation will begin at 7 p.m.
The presentation will be an interview format. WBNS-10TV anchor and Gahanna Lincoln alumnus, Yolanda Harris will interview Mayor Kneeland. After the program, join us for a reception hosted by the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce featuring samples from a few restaurants participating in their annual Taste of Gahanna event which will take place this August. To RSVP, click on the flyer below.
For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office at or call 614.342.4045. We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 State of the City!

Public Hearing Notice for Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Gahanna Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers of City Hall, 200 South Hamilton Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230, to consider the following applications:

Z-0001-2019 To recommend approval to Council, a Zoning application for 2.87 +/- acres of property located at 4297 & 4301 Johnstown Rd.; Parcel ID No. 027-000124 & 027-000098; current zoning ER-2, Estate Residential; requested zoning SO, Suburban Office & Institutional; Michael Fleitz, applicant.

CU-0001-2019 To consider a Conditional Use application to allow for the following uses to operate on the property under the Suburban Office classification: medical & dental, health & allied services, not elsewhere classified and services not elsewhere classified; for property located at 4297 and 4301 Johnstown Rd.; Parcel ID No. 027-000142 & 027-000098; current zoning ER-2, Estate Residential, proposed zoning SO, Suburban Office & Institutional; Michael Fleitz, applicant.

Z-0002-2019 To recommend approval to Council, a Zoning application for 1.78 +/- acres of property located at 4574 North Hamilton Rd.; Parcel ID No. 025-011245-00; current zoning CC-2, Community Commercial Modified District; requested zoning CX-1, Neighborhood Commercial, Mixed Use District; David Glimcher, applicant.

CU-0002-2019 To consider a Conditional Use application to allow for the construction of a hotel with 17+ rooms; for property located at 4574 North Hamilton Rd.; Parcel ID No. 025-011245-00; current zoning CC-2, Community Commercial Modified District, proposed zoning CX-1, Neighborhood Commercial, Mixed Use District; David Glimcher, applicant.

For more information, contact the Council Clerk’s office at 614.342.4090

Kneeland to Retire After 25 Years of Service to Gahanna

Yesterday, Mayor Tom Kneeland announced he would not be seeking re-election this November. Instead, he will retire at the end of his term to spend more quality time with his family.
“As mayor, I am pleased, humbled and overwhelmed at the progress we’ve made over the last few years to make our city a great place. For the past 25 years, I have proudly served the citizens of Gahanna from my leadership roles on city council to my position as mayor these last four years. I sincerely appreciate the support I have received from our residents and the business community.
Click here to read the full story in ThisWeek Community News.

City to Share Exciting Grant Opportunity for Recycling Carts on Monday, Jan. 28

The community is invited to attend the upcoming Council Committee meeting on Monday, January 28 at 7 pm at Gahanna City Hall to learn more about an exciting grant opportunity with SWACO and The Recycling Partnership for the purchase of 64-gallon recycling carts.

Household containers play a major role in determining the methods in how our residents are serviced, collection costs, the aesthetics of our community, and landfill capacity.  Two major goals of our solid waste consortium are to prolong the life of the landfill and reduce collection costs.  These goals also align with the City of Gahanna Sustainable 2050 goal to reduce the amount of municipal solid waste per capita disposed of in the landfill. One of the ways that SWACO has identified as being effective in achieving these goals is to have larger standardized collection containers for recycling.  By increasing the size of the containers, it increases recycling thus reducing solid waste being transported to the landfill which in turn extends the life of the landfill.  Standardizing the cart creates an even playing field among communities so that collection contractors can standardize their bids and realize efficiencies from using the more modern and standardized collection processes to take advantage of reduced collection costs.

In an effort to increase recycling, SWACO has partnered with the Recycling Partnership to offer its consortium members a one-time grant opportunity to purchase standardized 64-gallon Toter recycling carts at a greatly reduced cost and transition away from our bin based collection practices and implement cart-based recycling. Carts typically cost approximately $45.00 each, however, with this grant opportunity being presented by SWACO and the Recycling Partnership, the City will be able to purchase carts for approximately $15.52 each. We are excited about this opportunity for our City and our residents and look forward to providing more information to the community.

For more information about this initiative, contact the Public Service & Engineering Department at 614.342.4005.

Text-to-911 Now Available in Franklin County

After more than two years of work and cooperation between Franklin County and its jurisdictions, Franklin County residents can now send text messages to 911 dispatchers.

“Having been involved in this initiative since the 1980s I am very excited to see Text-to-911 come to fruition.  Thanks to the efforts of the Gahanna Division of Police Chief Spence, the MECC, Franklin County and all those involved in this initiative, I am pleased to report that Gahanna is now officially a wireless call center and will be handling wireline and wireless calls and also the new Text-t0-911 messages.  Having this new service offers another great option for those seeking assistance in emergency situations to get help when they need it the most. Although the Text-to-911 is now available, it is still important to emphasize to call if you can, but text if you can’t.”

This new service will greatly assist the deaf community, as well as those who may be in a domestic violence situation who are hiding or simply can’t make a phone call. Safety agencies throughout Franklin County collaborated to share 911 systems and develop partnerships to improve emergency service delivery for all Franklin County residents while simultaneously reducing implementation costs for the agencies. These agencies will be able to receive Text-to-911 texts either directly or via transfer – Franklin County Sheriff’s Office; the cities of Bexley, Columbus, Gahanna, Grove City, New Albany, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, Whitehall and Worthington; the Dublin Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center (which also serves Upper Arlington and Hilliard); The Ohio State University and the John Glenn Columbus International Airport Police.

The 911 dispatchers in the agencies noted above will see Text-to-911 messages in a similar fashion to what shows up on a smart-phone text chain and have the ability to text back specific questions to the sender. With this in mind, agencies jointly developed pre-programmed responses aimed to address the text emergencies they receive and quickly ask for key information.

Text-to-911 works on cell phones, tablets and other devices with the capability of sending texts. Though the initial Text-to-911 rollout will not include the ability for texters to send pictures and videos, partners throughout Franklin County will keep working with individual agencies and expect this to happen at some point in the future. Text-to-911 service is subject to cell signal availability and not every text sent will be received – another reason why those attempting to contact 911 should call when they can and text when they can’t. In the event a text does not go through, the person attempting to use Text-to-911 will receive an automated bounce-back message indicating the text’s failure to be delivered.

“The ability for Franklin County’s public safety dispatching centers to accept and respond to text messages to 9-1-1 is the culmination of years of hard work by representatives from several communities’ public safety agencies and other stakeholders within the county.  It was truly a team effort to bring this emerging technology to our residents in order to provide another method in reaching 9-1-1 dispatchers when a voice call is not possible and seconds count.  The initiative behind ‘Text-to-911’ created a number of lasting partnerships and collaborative efforts that help reduce costs for the member communities as well as improve overall service delivery to the public.  We understand that there will be challenges now that text messaging to 9-1-1 is a reality in Franklin County and as its use occurs. When seconds count, we encourage everyone to call if you can, text if you can’t.”

To view a fact sheet about Text-to-911 click here.

For more information about the new Text-to-911 service, click here.

Columbus Neighborhoods: Big Walnut Country Club

Did you know that Gahanna was once home to the Big Walnut Country Club, one of the first African American country clubs in the nation? Established in the 1920s, this county club was a place African Americans could enjoy recreational activities such as golf, dinners, pageants, and conferences.  Thanks to research provided by the Gahanna Historical Society, interviews and information we have collected throughout the years, the city has been able to gain more insight into the Big Walnut Country Club.  Thanks to WOSU’s Columbus Neighborhoods, we’ve been able to share a bit of Gahanna history with their viewers.

Winter is Here!

The City of Gahanna is committed to the safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors. Our snow warriors are dedicated to ensuring that our streets are safe and passable for drivers and pedestrians. Per the City’s snow policy and during a plowing event, the main (arterial) streets are plowed first. After the main streets are cleared, plows will work on collector streets (streets that lead to arterials). Following collector streets are residential streets and then courts. Vehicles parked on streets during snow and ice events make it difficult for snow plows to properly clear the streets and present a legitimate hazard.  If possible, please refrain from parking on the street during these events.

As a reminder, property owners are responsible for clearing their sidewalks (ORC 723.011). Keeping sidewalks clear helps to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing these areas.

To learn more about the City’s Snow Removal Policy click here.


Ohio Means Jobs to Host Meetings in Gahanna to Share Resources for Job Seekers

As part of Mayor Kneeland’s commitment to workforce development, the City will be promoting various events and activities to help connect Gahanna residents with resources and job opportunities. Ohio Means Jobs will be hosting informational meetings at the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 310 Granville St. From 9 – 11 am on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, February 5
  • Tuesday, March 5

The purpose of these meetings is to introduce Ohio Means Jobs services to job seekers throughout central Ohio.  No appointment is necessary and the services are FREE. As a resource, the library provides FREE access to its computers with Internet access and resume software.

For more information about these events, contact the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library at 614.645.2275. To learn about job opportunities in Gahanna and throughout central Ohio visit our workforce resource page.

Tax Revenue Presentation from January 7 Finance Committee Meeting

In the last decade or so Gahanna has faced the dual challenges of a maturing city hit with the second worst economic contraction on record. These challenges are not unique to Gahanna however what is unique is Gahanna has failed to adapt to this new normal. Where other cities have adjusted their tax rates, Gahanna has not. The city in most cases has less revenue per square mile and less revenue per capita to work with than surrounding cities. In order to cope with financial constraints, management has spent down reserves and deferred capital maintenance to critical levels.  The following slides illustrate this information and were presented by Council at the January 7 Committee Meeting:

Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6

For more information about this presentation, email