Knowlton State Warriors | Blog 5 University District Plan


“Neighborhood plans address future land use, urban design, and capital improvements. They provide an opportunity for community stakeholders to help shape and direct the pattern of growth and development in their area. Two primary ways a neighborhood plan is used are to guide neighborhood and city review of development proposals and to inform future investments in the area.”

Existing Conditions

“The Existing Conditions section provides a summary of the planning area’s data and trends that inform physical planning and change. The report reviews the area’s physical attributes, including land use, zoning, transportation, and environmental resources. Current and forecasted demographics, economic trends, and a historical context of the planning area are examined as well.”

12 neighborhoods make up the University District. There are 4 historic districts. There were previous plans such as a design for High Street. 49 percent of the land is used for residential, and 39 percent is institutional. Most of the land on High Street is commercial, and most of the land North, East, and South of OSU is residential.

“The Urban Commercial Overlay… establishes additional standards and requirements on top of underlying zoning to commercial properties.”

The document then goes over the demographics, tax increment finance areas, transport networks, and environmental resources.

Over the last few years, denser development such as student beds and parking has impacted the University District.


“The Plan Recommendations section addresses land use, urban design, and capital improvements. The development principles, policies, guidelines and strategies are an outgrowth of existing conditions analysis, stakeholder input and staff analysis. They respond to identified priorities and are consistent with overall city development-related policies. Each development principle is followed by supporting policies, guidelines and strategies. Capital improvement recommendations will serve as the area’s Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund (UIRF) priorities.”

The document goes over Floor Area Ratio and Land Use Plans. The Land Use Plan of each street/house is laid out on a map. The mixed-use zoning ideas are explained.

Natural Resource and Parks and Recreation Facilities are explained.

The design principles are then explained, including Historic Resources and building design, and landscaping.

Then Residential Development ideas are explained, along with parking lots, garages, Graphics, and art.

Next, Capital Improvements, or improvements to neighborhood infrastructure are laid out.


“The most effective way to implement the provisions of a neighborhood plan is through the consistent and unified advocacy of area residents and businesses working in concert with the city of Columbus and other stakeholders. The most typical mechanism for plan implementation is the review of development proposals for consistency with the plan. Additionally, the plan can be used proactively to seek investment in the area, advocate for neighborhood issues, pursue grant funding and guide capital improvements. As indicated, this plan will serve as the area’s list of UIRF priority projects.”

  • The land use recommendations in this plan are actually extremely agreeable to me. There are a lot of positive points and I feel like if the recommendations are followed progression will be viewed as primarily positive. The first good thing is the focusing of development on the campus area and not as much the surrounding area, this allows people who live here and aren’t involved with OSU a little space and separation from it. Another good thing is the focus on density in order to make the district very walkable. I also like the mixed land use goals and variety of land use encouraged. The different usages of intensity of that usage allows for diversity and several different feelings depending on where you are in the district. It also allows you to live, shop, eat, etc. all very close together. Finally, there is a good point in there about encouraging sustainable building and green practices. I think every recommendation these days should contain a sustainable element.
  • The plan for The University District describes the land use objectives for the area and they are pretty consistent to what has been going on recently with new developments. For example, the new developments on High Street are designated for Regional Mixed Use which is the case for all of those developments including the new Target which also has apartments above the store. They do also state that there must be a park or recreational facility within one-half mile of all residents within the district all within the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan. I think there are definitely more parks that could be put in to increase the green space in the district as it is very residential and commercial outside of the University campus. They state that High Street and Lane Avenue will continue to be the main corridor for mixed use and densest development, which is line with recent developments. They have a pretty strong sense of conservation in the plan and they say that any building with significant impact on the historic fabric of the district must be rehabilitated and maintained, but I do think that knocking down building after building on High Street doesn’t necessarily follow this guideline.
  • According to the principles behind the land use of the University District, the goal is focused in the proper direction. Where mixed use buildings are said to be focused on main street and walking up and down that particular area it is easily noticeable of the mixed use of the buildings for both commercial and residential. It also addresses the importance of accessibility by walking, biking and cars, all of which are a major priority and easily noticeable by the roads, and the walkways across the campus. Parking also is not dominating the University District, with the use of parking garages limiting the area and composing it towards the sky in a much denser area. The area is also utilizing green spaces and is conserving the existing land and feel of the parks and natural environment. Thus, the guiding principles seem to be shaping the University towards the right direction and the outcome is noticeable.
  • The recommendations we have regarding the University District Plan are focused in the area of transportation and walking about the area.  The third guiding principle discusses how people should still be able to move around by walking, car, transit, and bicycle.  All of these ways of transportation are available, but some can be more difficult and less safe than others.  The major concern we have is crossing high street when walking to and from campus or other areas.  There is a lot of traffic on high street all the time and it is very unsafe to cross the street a lot of the time.  One solution to this problem would be to incorporate a couple of walking bridges across high street at major crossing points to reduce accidents and traffic.  Another recommendation for this principle of the plan is to incorporate more bike racks along high street.  The plan wants the use of bicycles to increase, but there are not many bike racks along retail buildings to leave them at while visiting.  The last recommendation is to improve bus stops.  Many of the bus stops have been improved, but others are still simply a post.  To encourage transit use in the area, better bus stops for people to wait at would be a good start.



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