by Sheldon Ocker
Bath Township trustees shot down a proposed zoning change that would allow a Sheetz gas station and a Texas Roadhouse restaurant to be built on property that housed the now-closed Holiday Inn and Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse at 4073 Medina Rd.
But that has not ended the effort to make the proposed development a reality.
The board of trustees considered the zoning change in June 2021, when trustees Elaina Goodrich and Becky Corbett voted to deny the change and trustee Jim Nelson voted to allow it. Since then, the composition of the board has changed. Nelson and Corbett have been replaced by former fiscal officer Sharon Troike and Sean Gaffney. Goodrich remains a trustee.
“It went through our zoning commission, which recommended to approve it,’’ said Bill Funk, Bath planning director and zoning inspector. “The county planning commission also approved the project.’’
The trustees will reconsider the proposal, but not before a public hearing, yet to be scheduled as of mid-November, according to Funk. After the hearing, “The record will remain open for comments for 20 days,’’ said Funk.
Another trustee vote is not expected until January.
“I’m told that if they [the owner and the developer, OCG 77 Development LLC in Mentor] get zoning approval, they would like to move pretty fast,’’ said Funk, who did not have a more detailed construction timeline.
Ted Sahler of Akron Fairlawn Properties, owner of the site, proposed the zoning change in 2020. The property is zoned B-3 office, research and limited business district. To accommodate a gas station and one or more restaurants, Sahler asked for B-2 zoning, suitable for commercial and retail business.
In addition to the Sheetz gas station and convenience store and Texas Roadhouse, a second restaurant is planned but has not been identified.
Preliminary plans for the gas station call for a 6,139-square-foot building with room for gas pumps and parking on all four sides. The Texas Roadhouse would be housed in an 8,708-square-foot structure to the north of the gas station. A 7,018-square-foot building will be the home of a second restaurant, west of Sheetz.
According to Funk, Sheetz would lease the property for 20 years with the possibility of a 5-year extension. Texas Roadhouse would commit to a 15-year lease with a possibility of a 5-year extension.
The property is entirely within a JEDD comprised of Bath, Fairlawn and Akron. As such, the township will share income tax revenue with the other two communities. According to the JEDD agreement, Bath is responsible for ruling on zoning issues.
When trustees considered the zoning recommendation in 2021, their concerns centered around the number of restaurants nearby (40 within one-third mile, according to Goodrich) and the number of gas stations in the vicinity (four in one-fourth mile, according to Goodrich).
Increased traffic plus ingress and egress to the property also were discussed. At least one trustee asked if charging stations for electric vehicles would be included at the Sheetz facility.
The nearest Sheetz station to Bath is about five miles west of the township on Route 18. The closest Texas Roadhouse is in Stow. ∞