Hinckley tries to stave off Drug Mart annexation

by Melissa Martin

Medina County Commissioners are expected to issue a ruling by mid-May to determine whether the proposed site of the Hinckley Discount Drug Mart can be annexed to the city of Brunswick.

Township and city officials, as well as developers of the project, attended a public hearing before the board of commissioners April 11 after Tom Lunt, Drug Mart’s vice-president of real estate operations, filed the petition to annex the Hinckley parcel to Brunswick Jan. 31.

“We ran into some initial issues with the township on the development of the property,” Lunt said. “It became clear to us that the city of Brunswick would be easier to work with throughout the development process, especially the building department.”

Lunt said if the property is annexed to Brunswick, Drug Mart will have a 100 percent tax abatement for 15 years.

“In this equation, we’ve got to do the balancing between the detriments and the benefits,” said Dan Calvin, representing Drug Mart. “Frankly, the dollars and cents speak for themselves.”

Hinckley trustees voted against the proposed community reinvestment area last June but rescinded the motion April 4 and subsequently voted to support the CRA Drug Mart requested last year in an attempt to keep the retailer and the property in Hinckley.

“Based on our vote, I would say that the board fully supports Drug Mart being there and has offered the CRA,” said Hinckley Trustee Melissa Augustine.

Hinckley Police Chief David Centner and Hinckley Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh said they oppose the annexation because there may be confusion on which safety services should respond to an incident in the area, which could cause a delay.

A handful of Hinckley residents offered their input. Among them was zoning commission member Cindy Engelman who expressed concern that more properties along W. 130th Street would be annexed to Brunswick if the Drug Mart annexation is approved. That would cost the township part of its tax base.

Brunswick Law Director Kenneth Fisher said the city has no plans to annex additional properties at this time, noting that Drug Mart officials approached the city of Brunswick with the petition.

Commissioners have 30 days from the hearing to issue their ruling on the annexation petition. ∞