Discount Drug Mart property owners file for annexation

by Melissa Martin

Feb. 7 township trustees meeting

Hinkley trustees indicated they are likely to file a formal objection to the proposed annexation of 5.12 acres of township land at the southeast corner of W. 130th Street and Center Road to the city of Brunswick.

Trustee Jack Swedyk said that the board was notified by Medina County Commissioners that a petition for annexation had been filed and that a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11.

State law dictates that the township has until March 27, or 15 days prior to the hearing, to file an objection. If the county fails to receive any objections prior to that date, commissioners are expected to approve the annexation without any discussion on the matter, Swedyk said.

Though only the attorney’s name is listed on the petition for annexation, Swedyk said he believes Discount Drug Mart, which intends to open a new retail store and pharmacy on the property, is the property owner.

Representatives for Discount Drug Mart requested a community reinvestment area property tax abatement for the site last spring, after announcing it plans to build a new Hinckley store. At the direction of Medina County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bethany Dentler, an abatement for this property was set at 50% of the assessed real property investment amount of $3.5 million for a term of 15 years.

On June 7, trustees voted 2-1 against the abatement. Swedyk, who was the lone yes vote at the time, noted that he likes that Discount Drug Mart is a local company. He said he supported the abatement because the property is currently contributing very little to the township tax base. Even the proposed 50% property tax contribution, he said, is more than the township currently receives.

Upon learning of Discount Drug Mart’s intent to annex to Brunswick, Trustee Melissa Augustine recommended the board of trustees reach out to the company and offer a 15-year, 100% tax abatement to remain competitive with Brunswick. She made a similar recommendation last September after speaking with several county officials, including Grant Aungst, Brunswick’s community and economic development director.

Brunswick, Augustine said, offers companies a 15-year, 100% property tax abatement on all new structures.

“It’s my opinion that we should reach out to Drug Mart and offer 100%,” she said. “This way we can keep one more piece of Hinckley so they don’t take any more bites out of it.”

Swedyk told Augustine he doesn’t believe the township is in a good position to renegotiate the terms of the CRA after trustees rejected the initial proposal in 2022.

“They came to us in good faith, and it didn’t pass,” he said. “We’re in a much weaker position now to try and negotiate anything at this point.”

Trustee Monique Ascherl said she believes the township has to take action, adding that she spoke recently with the county prosecutor’s office about filing an objection.

“The clock is ticking on this,” she said. “I think it is something we are better off moving forward with sooner rather than later.”

The basis of that objection, trustees agreed, should not be announced publicly to avoid letting property owners know the township’s strategy moving forward.

“I think it’s important for us to be very proactive with this and for the township to see we are being proactive with this,” Ascherl said. “I think this is something most people would encourage us to fight this.”

Other business

Trustees unanimously approved awarding a $286,070 bid for the 2023 paving project. Affected streets include Bellus Road, between Ridge Road and Hinckley Hills Road, and Mattingly Road.

The township’s police department also swore in Michael Shamblin as a new police officer.

Police Chief David Centner also announced the township will host a public information session on Saturday, March 11, at 9 a.m. The session will address new phone and email scams circulating throughout the community.

“This is a never-ending problem, not only for us but for every law enforcement agency in America,” Centner said. “These individuals get very good at what they do. … As much as we try to put out there on Facebook, there’s no end to it. These people will stoop to any level to steal money from people.”

The meeting will be televised on Zoom and recorded and placed on YouTube to allow residents to share the information with family and friends. ∞