Parking variance approved for NexusPark

City officials have approved a proposal for NexusPark to have fewer parking spaces than required.

The Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a request from the city of Columbus for a development standards variance to “allow two or more uses to provide off-site parking and have 975 parking spaces, 502 spaces less than the 1,477 spaces required.” The request was approved at Tuesday’s board meeting, with board member Zack Ellison recusing himself as he also sits on the board of Columbus Regional Hospital.

NexusPark is a joint effort by the city of Columbus and CRH to redevelop the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center. The campus is expected to include Columbus Parks and Recreation Department spaces, a fieldhouse, restaurant and retail areas and CRH facilities. Outdoor community park and gathering spaces are planned, and Dunham’s is expected to remain on-site under its current lease.

“With the interior and exterior proposed changes the minimum number of parking spaces required on-site is changing and, with the addition of an outdoor park space, parking spaces will be removed,” planning officials wrote in a staff report. “The applicant is requesting to provide 975 parking spaces, 502 parking spaces fewer than the 1,477 required parking spaces for the entire property. The NexusPark site includes four separate lots, but a previous off-site parking approval allows the parking requirement and spaces provided to be applied as a total across all of the properties.”

The current site plan for NexusPark includes a total of 1,001 spaces, but the city requested that as few as 975 be allowed in order to account for potential revisions. The current plan includes:

  • 248 spaces at the fieldhouse lot (168 are required)
  • 404 spaces at CRH’s lot (458 are required)
  • 328 spaces at the parks and retail lot (851 are required)
  • 21 spaces at a storage building lot (none are required)

City officials wrote in their application that the main hours of operation for NexusPark’s three major tenants — parks and recreation, CRH and retail — are not expected to overlap, and parking can be shared between the different lots.

The prime operating hours for CRH facilities will be weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on average, with offices closed on weekends.

Parks and recreation’s prime operating hours will be 5 to 7:30 a.m. on weekdays for its fitness center and 5 to 10 p.m. on weekdays for recreation programs and fieldhouse usage. Prime operating hours on weekends will be 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with activity primarily taking place in the fieldhouse.

For retail tenants, the prime operating hours are noon to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. on weekdays, as well as 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

“The code requirements for parking for the campus do not consider the specific and non-traditional uses of the spaces in the parks and recreation property,” city officials wrote. “Many of these spaces lend themselves to having vehicles double counted and / or being used by visitors who are not of driving age and will not be parking a vehicle.”

There are also instances where the maximum occupancy of spaces within NexusPark is higher than the actual expected occupancy.

Additionally, the staff report noted that Lincoln Park could provide potential overflow parking, as it is city-owned, located nearby and has about 530 additional spaces. The NexusPark site can also be accessed by the People Trail network and ColumBUS Transit.