Sheetz, Texas Roadhouse zoning issues addressed
by Laura Bednar
March 28 board of zoning appeals meeting
The Bath Board of Zoning Appeals approved several variances for the property at 4073 Medina Rd., contingent on rezoning approval from township trustees.
Developer for the project, Lance Osborne, plans to build a Sheetz gas station, Texas Roadhouse restaurant and a business to be determined. Trustees will vote on the rezoning request to a B-2 district, which allows for commercial and retail businesses, within 20 days of the May 3 public hearing on the issue.
Robert Ondak, legal counsel for Osborne, explained that the developer signed a ground lease with Texas Roadhouse and Sheetz, which allows each business to build individual buildings, yet the property owner retains ownership of the land. There would also be separate tax parcels for each of the three parcels, meaning the businesses would pay their own taxes, though Osborne would ultimately be responsible.
Conditional uses for a gas station and outdoor dining at Sheetz were approved by the zoning appeals board with Nancy Fay, Tom Flynn and Jeff Kerr voting in favor and Dave Landis voting against. Board members voted on several other variances for the property.
In the Sheetz parcel, a variance was approved for a front parking setback of 6.6 feet from the road right-of-way, as opposed to the required 30-foot setback. This would apply to parking along Route 18.
Kerr suggested moving the parking rows facing Route 18 and Springside Drive to the third parcel, for which there is currently no development plan. Ellen Selle, a Sheetz representative, said it would be safer not to move the spaces so people do not walk across the fueling stations to reach the buildings. Ondak added that the third parcel should remain open for project feasibility.
The developer requested the driveway width into Sheetz from Route 18 be increased to 36 feet from the required 30 feet. Ondak said this would help “large truck traffic coming in.” He clarified that the trucks would be delivering gasoline. This variance was approved.
A reduction in the setback from the side and rear lot lines for the fuel pump canopy on the left side of the gas station was approved from the required 20 feet to 9.6 feet. The board also approved a 6.6-foot streetscape buffer setback from the right-of way to the Sheetz parcel, as opposed to the required 30 feet. An interior landscaping variance was approved, which reduces the required 2,380 square feet of landscaping to 1,379 square feet.
Ondak said because of proposed installation of electric vehicle charging stations, there would be less room for landscaping.
Applicable to the Texas Roadhouse parcel, a variance reducing the streetscape buffer setback by 9.5 feet was denied, as was reducing the parking setback from the right-of-way to the property. Kerr and Fay expressed concerns about the number of parking spaces the developer was requesting for Texas Roadhouse, 182. Township code allows for 83.
Andrew Pierson, senior traffic engineer at TMS Engineering, was hired to do a traffic study for the site. He proposed road improvements on Springside Drive be included in the project. Dual northbound left turn lanes that would turn onto Route 18 would be added as well as a right turn only lane southbound onto Route 18.
Ondak said the road improvements would be included in the development agreement, which allows for township trustee input as to the standards and conditions related to the property development.
Route 18 is under the Ohio Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction, so the developers cannot make changes. Pierson said he is still waiting for ODOT’s approval of the traffic study.
During time for public comment, resident Michelle Primm said, “I oppose any changes in greenspace, open space or landscaping.”
She added that if the project does move forward, four electric charging stations at Sheetz is inadequate given the recent trend in electric vehicles. Primm asked how drivers would remain safe while waiting for their vehicles to charge.
Selle said Sheetz works with three companies that provide infrastructure for electric vehicle chargers, and that Sheetz would have tables inside and out for people to eat and sit while their car charges.
Resident JoAnn Alexander said it is easy to allow for more development in the Montrose area because it is already a business district but warned it is a “slippery slope” to permit development elsewhere. “We need more greenspace,” she said.
Resident Richard Bradner asked how long the leases were with Sheetz and Texas Roadhouse and if the businesses would comply with the township’s signage regulations. Ondak said the leases are for 20 years and the businesses would follow the signage rules. ∞