WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend a text amendment to city zoning code.

The proposed change would make a B-2 central business zone allow the land uses of public parks, playgrounds, recreation and community centers, golf courses, country clubs, tennis courts and other non-commercial recreational uses — all still requiring a conditional use permit within the zone.

The commission's discussion was prompted by staff notation that the proposed location for Worthington's new indoor field house (the former Campbell's Soup building) and the proposed site for the W.E.L.L. project fall within a B-2 district. Although one solution would be changing the zone of the property to B-3, staff pointed out that B-2 zones allow a greater floor-to-area ratio (a building's total floor area compared to the area of the land it occupies), and the W.E.L.L. project in particular would benefit from such an allowance.

Commissioners wanted to be sure that the amendment would not have the potential to facilitate developments that might detract from the downtown commercial area, most of which is zoned B-2. Staff said that because each new development would require a conditional use permit, such developments are unlikely.

The planning commission does not have final say on text amendments. Its action constitutes a recommendation to be considered by the Worthington City Council.

Also decided by the planning commission Tuesday night:

  • Corky Tate was denied a variance to enlarge his deck, which would increase the structure coverage above the allowed 40% of the lot size. Commissioners were unanimous that Tate's request did not pass the state's three-factor test because there was no unique circumstance beyond the landowner's control.
  • Pulver Towing was given a variance to pave the access drives within 18 months instead of the required 12 months on property it is purchasing, on the condition that it takes dust control measures. The commission felt that the uniqueness of the driveways justified the variance. Ben Weber was the only commissioner opposed.
  • Pulver's conditional use permit to construct a 58 feet by 86 feet warehouse and office and a 78 feet by 86 feet impound lot on the aforementioned property, which is located north of Rising Sun Estates along Read Avenue. Conditions include a requirement that the impound lot be screened with fencing at least seven feet tall. The planning commission does not have final say on conditional use permits. The permit will be considered at the Oct. 14 city council meeting.