Council committee rejects location of proposed Goodwill store

by Dan Holland

Feb. 7 Building Codes & Public Buildings/Growth, Planning & Zoning Committee meeting

City officials opened preliminary discussions Feb. 7 regarding a proposal to build a 12,600- square-foot Goodwill Industries store on vacant lot adjacent to Discount Drug Mart, 9318 Broadview Rd. The 3.2-acre parcel for the proposed business lies within the city’s special planning district known as City Center.

Chief Building Official Joe Mandato began the meeting by stating that the proposed project would not meet the District A zoning criteria without a conditional use approval from the city’s planning commission.

Guy Long, representing Piedmont Companies, Inc., of Lincolnton, North Carolina, gave a brief overview of the proposed project. He explained to council that Piedmont would own the property and lease it to Goodwill. The project would have a projected cost of $4.25 million, with an anticipated construction start date of April 1 and an expected completion date of Oct. 30.

According to the GPZ application, the parcel is owned by Petros, SAM & DAV Properties II, Ltd.

Councilperson Joe Price told Long that a number of residents had voiced concerns about placing too many retail businesses in the special planning district. He said similar concerns were aired with the building of Discount Drug Mart.

“That is why we set up the Special Planning District, so that all of these boards and committees could have a say in regards to this and didn’t want to have the retail creeping down towards city hall,” Price said. “This is Town Center; the center of town. In fact, the city owns the parcel directly on the northeast of this building. The city clearly has an investment there that it wants to make sure is aligned with what the city envisions with this.”

Price asked Long if his company had considered other sites in the city for the business.

“They have looked at different sites, but they felt that this was the best one,” said Long. “There are very few areas [in the city] where this would work. They originally started looking heading towards [Interstate 77].”

Council President Robert Boldt also questioned Long about the proposed location. A similar Goodwill store located in Strongsville, at 16160 Pearl Rd., is not located near that city’s business center, he pointed out.

“Nobody in Broadview Heights, except maybe the person trying to sell you this property, is going to tell you they want a Goodwill in downtown – nobody. What is going to happen is – and I will predict the future for you – it is going to go to planning commission, maybe, and it is going to get voted down by council. Pick another site. There are plenty of other streets and business areas where you can put this.”

Councilperson Jennifer Mahnic agreed.

“I am concerned with the impact it will have on the existing businesses that are there that are single,” she said. “They are not big box, and I am also concerned about traffic because that is going to be a huge safety issue, especially when our new school is built very close by. I just think that it is the wrong location.”

“I think that when people passed a zoning change and a master plan for our downtown, I really don’t think that they intended to have this kind of business there,” added Councilperson Glenn Goodwin.

Councilperson Brian Wolf made a motion that council not move the proposal forward to the city’s planning commission. The motion was unanimously agreed upon by council. ∞