The Land Use Plan for the West Innovation District establishes a general hierarchy of uses and the associated character that will be expected. The relationship between land use and transportation planning are intricately linked in a developing area. As the western most portion of Dublin’s business core, land use flexibility will have significant impact on the development potential for many sites. In particular, the Land Use Plan was developed through significant stakeholder input to achieve the following:
- Maximize visibility for sites along U.S. 33 in a manner that will enhance the desirability for development;
- Open up interior sites not immediately adjacent to the interchange to provide better access and market potential;
- Maintain the integrity of existing residential areas, while encouraging future housing options to enhance the area’s desirability;
- Appropriate transition uses from higher-profile architecture near U.S. 33 to a more industrial character in western areas of the West Innovation District; and
- Ensure future development will have easy access to amenities such as open space, recreation, and support services.
Considering Development Options
A number of conceptual road alignments and associated land use patterns were developed as part of the planning process to ascertain public preferences. Discussion of multiple land use concepts provided valuable opportunity to define issues that should be addressed in the West Innovation District.
The Central Loop
The Central Loop concept considered the creation of a major circulation loop in the center of the West Innovation District by realigning Shier Rings northward to open up land along U.S. 33. The concept downplayed portions of residential areas along Shier Rings Road, but impacted commercial access and made frontage property along the interstate too narrow to effectively market. The resulting loop system negatively influenced some areas of residential use to the west along Shier Rings Road and did not result in a system that provided clear navigation to the interchanges. Many smaller commercial parcels were also affected by being separated from the major thoroughfare network for the West Innovation District.
The Darree Connection
The Darree Connection proposed a realignment of Shier Rings Road northward to establish a new park entrance that would address neighborhood impacts and enhance recreational access. Resident concern specifically highlighted traffic concerns and park-related congestion. The resulting alignment allowed portions of Shier Rings from Eiterman Road to Cosgray Road to be downplayed as a local street with a defined greenway connection between Darree Fields and the northern entrance to Ballantrae. The application of a modified grid off SR 161 provided enhanced site access to areas within the interior, but did not sufficiently address traffic trying to move through the area from SR 161 to Avery Road.
The Scissors concept incorporated a direct northward alignment of Shier Rings Road to establish a U.S. 33 bypass similar in concept to Emerald Parkway along I-270. The future road extension would create a direct route from Emerald Parkway to Industrial Parkway using Shier Rings Road, and provide a continuous reliever along the interstate from Dublin to Marysville. The proposal included the implementation of a new formal entrance into Darree Fields. The Scissors option would create a new east-west collector that parallels SR 161 creating a “scissors” or crossing point on City-owned land. The concept also downplayed residential areas along Shier Rings Road and provided enhanced access and visibility for more properties within the area.
Defining the Preferred Development Scenario
Public forums provided valuable feedback from property owners, residents and technical professionals. Particular elements of two scenarios were desired but a nearly unanimous preference was shown for the Scissors concept. The best elements of all three concepts, as defined by the public input, were integrated into the final West Innovation District Land Use Plan.
The Land Use Plan identifies a hierarchy of preferred land uses based upon proximity to U.S. 33 on the east and the CSX railroad on the west. Areas with primary visibility and access to U.S. 33 focus on higher-profile office and research development at a higher intensity. Areas to the west focus on more flexible, lower-profile construction that will accommodate a broad range of office, research, lab, assembly, clean manufacturing and warehouse space. Sites in the furthest west portions of the West Innovation District are closest to the railroad and are more remote from the interstate. Larger manufacturing, warehouse and assembly uses with a more traditional industrial appearance are expected in these areas.
The Plan identifies key areas along SR 161 and adjacent to Darree Fields where a combination of office and residential uses can enhance housing options within walking or biking distance in the West Innovation District. The Plan also considers the integration of support services such as retail and personal services at both interchange areas as a key amenity for businesses and residents.
The final Land Use Plan for the West Innovation District includes a tiered approach to research uses and the development quality of the area. Locations with higher visibility and access focus on higher-level architecture, while those that are more remote provide opportunity to address a less refined development expectation. The three research zones are balanced by additional residential and support zones that will provide a full range of research opportunity, housing choice and service amenities.
West Innovation District Land Use Categories
Research Office sites are those generally located close to interchange areas or with more direct visibility from U.S. 33. Primary uses within this area are intended to focus on higher-profile office and research facilities that will have the ability to influence one’s first impression of the West Innovation District. Development of multi-story buildings is strongly encouraged, and the use of higher-quality building materials is desired to establish a “front door” image for the area. Components such as assembly, clean manufacturing and warehousing are acceptable, but should be considered as secondary elements within the framework of a larger office/research facility.
The Research Flex category addresses those sites that have secondary access and/or proximity to residential areas where lower-scale construction would be expected. Sites within this category are highly desirable, but do not have the proximity or visibility to U.S. 33 or the interchanges as Research Office. Architecture is expected to provide a hybrid of office and industrial appearance that still provides for a broad range of office, research, laboratory, assembly, clean manufacturing and warehousing space. Design and construction should effectively incorporate space planning and architecture that focuses attention on the office component as the source of business identity. Higher level uses and architecture acceptable within the Research Office category are also highly encouraged in the flex designation.
The third tier of research categories includes sites more remote from U.S. 33 intended for a more industrial-like appearance. Larger manufacturing and assembly uses are envisioned that would include a secondary component of office space for administrative purposes. Development within this zone is encouraged to utilize design methods that enhance the appearance of larger industrial structures. Quality architecture is expected, but with fewer restrictions than more visible locations in order to accommodate a broader range of business types. Uses and architectural quality from the Research Office and Research Flex categories are also highly encouraged, but not required.
Mixed Use Tech
Key areas around residential neighborhoods, parks and potential retail areas are targeted for neighborhood-scale office uses and higher density housing that will complement development and create an incentive for prospective technology-related businesses and employees. Housing in these areas is located to provide optimal access to surrounding amenities, while establishing a walking and biking environment in which employees can minimize automobile use and have access to long-term transit options. Based on market conditions, these areas may create opportunity for integrated support uses.
The Future Land Use Map identifies some areas just outside the West Innovation District as Mixed Residential. Land in this category is expected to provide residential development with a mix of housing types that can complement existing single-family development. The designation will further add to the palette of housing choices for employees within the West Innovation District. Mixes of multiple-family products with a single-family neighborhood appearance are encouraged.
Research Support Services
Areas near the two main interchanges along U.S. 33 include the greatest opportunity to provide support functions such as retail, restaurants, personal services and other amenities that are highly desired by employers and employees. Support services are geographically defined according to the greatest opportunity for employees, residents and people travelling through the area to support a successful business environment. Designation of support areas is also placed in key locations that will support the West Innovation District, while ensuring that the larger development character of the area speaks of technology and innovation.
The West Innovation District focuses on suburban-style growth patterns that can accommodate more intense development near interchange areas. The application of general land use categories is very flexible throughout the West Innovation District, and the scale of buildings must also take into consideration the surrounding context. The Height Regulating Plan includes designations that limit building height based upon the specific location within the West Innovation District. Sites adjacent to existing neighborhoods are expected to include lower-scale construction, while those key sites with high visibility and interchange access are encouraged to include taller buildings that maximize development potential.