Sawmill SR 161 Area Map: PDF | Interactive | New Interactive (beta)
Planning boundaries for the Sawmill/SR 161 Area generally include lands south of I-270, west of Sawmill, north of Stoneridge Lane and east of the Scioto River. Areas near Sawmill Road are generally flat, but proximity to the River provides opportunity for hillside development and outstanding views as land slopes down to the floodplain. Significant portions of the study area include older commercial zoning that permits a wide range of uses. The area includes a mix of entertainment uses, corporate headquarters (Wendy’s International), hotels, flex office/warehouse space, car dealerships and various types of residential development.
In general, the area is disadvantaged by a decline in strip retail. As other areas along Sawmill have redeveloped, many commercial storefronts have remained empty. Vacant centers with few tenants have utilized parking lots for overflow car dealership inventories, and the broad mix of uses along State Route 161 and Sawmill Road have resulted in no clear identity for the area. While proximate to a major interchange, access and visibility for many commercial areas have been compromised through land subdivision, and a better balance of residential and non-residential uses is necessary.
Focus for future success of the area will be in targeting redevelopment and infill efforts in a way that capitalizes on a thematic idea or niche and establishes a sense of place. As one of the few areas of the City where high density should be encouraged, significant levels of residential units should be encouraged to support area retail and facilitate a more pedestrian friendly environment. Clearer visual and physical connections should also be sought to link the area with Historic
Dublin and to raise awareness of the Scioto River.
Planning Challenges and Issues
Encourage redevelopment that ensures long-term viability
Redevelopment of vacant or underutilized areas should be encouraged to re-establish the Dublin side of Sawmill Road as a vibrant and active place. Redevelopment of the Dublin Village Center and other retail areas should avoid new strip commercial development that has a short lifespan and focus on longevity by pursuing a town center development that can serve as an entertainment center with a coordinated mix of activities that promotes interaction, educational opportunities, unique housing opportunities and pedestrian activity.
Create street edge and character
Buildings should be oriented toward main streets, public courtyards and plazas to create a sense of identity and visual orientation. Unique, high quality architecture should be used to define the street “space” and as clear focal points of interest at the terminus of viewsheds. Parking areas should be visually secondary to the rear or side of the building, and architecture and building setbacks should be deliberately used to impact the feel of the streetscape. Mixed use areas of office and commercial should be placed close to the street for visibility and to identify a node of activity. In contrast residential uses should be set back to provide increased landscaping and a sense of change as one moves along the street.
Integrate parking areas to minimize visual impact
Alternate parking configurations should be used to better integrate uses and promote pedestrian streetscapes. Parking areas should be relocated from the edge of the public right-of-way and reduced in scale to the side or rear of buildings. Within development, on-street parking should be emphasized to enhance pedestrian orientation and to facilitate nodes of activity. In addition, parking structures should be encouraged to serve a broad mixture of uses and maximization of land to facilitate a pedestrian center/focus.
Establish a clear connection to the River
The Scioto River provides a unique feature within the Sawmill and SR 161 Area that should be incorporated into the overall layout and design of the area. Efforts should be made to increase physical linkages and visibility. New development along the western edge of the planning area should be oriented towards the River with overlooks, terraces, and views of the riparian corridor. Consideration should be given to how buildings and development are viewed from Riverside Drive. In addition a hierarchy of open spaces should be created to connect the area.
…To develop a coordinated mix of office, retail and mixed residential uses while establishing a stronger sense of place and central focus. This plan should facilitate pedestrian movement between uses and enhance the approach to Historic Dublin from the east.