Township Administrator’s Corner by Vito Sinopoli

Future development plans for the property at 4073 Medina Rd., on which the Holiday Inn is currently located, should be moving forward following a recent zoning change from B-3 to B-2 through a map amendment. The property has long been a topic of discussion for residents and developers alike and it appears plans will transform the location into a commercial hub of three retail businesses: a Sheetz gas station, a Texas Roadhouse restaurant and a third retail coffee vendor, yet to be determined. The developer’s proposal was submitted with the promise of economic growth, enhanced traffic infrastructure and a boost to the local business community.

The rezoning process from B-3 to B-2 was a significant step that involved careful consideration of the property’s potential impact to the area and the needs of the community. After thorough deliberation, the Summit County Planning Commission and the Bath Township Zoning Commission reviewed the development proposal and both entities separately recommended approval of the rezoning request. Ultimately, the Bath Township Board of Trustees considered those recommendations, as well as input from residents obtained during a public comment period.

Those opposed to the zoning change argued the development would increase traffic in the Montrose area, which they believed already maintains a sufficient number of retail businesses. Opponents felt a less impactful business use, possibly medical offices, was preferred. Those in favor of the rezone cited concerns with the aging Holiday Inn structure and its future viability as a business entity. Demolishing the antiquated structure and opening up a new retail business corridor was encouraged.

Following extensive review of the development proposal, Bath Township, through legal counsel, entered into an agreement with the developer, which ensures full compliance with the requirements necessary to protect the interests of the community and that the property is developed as presented. This agreement outlines the developer’s responsibilities in adhering to the township’s zoning and land use regulations, as well as construction, traffic impact and environmental concerns. The agreement also includes provisions for tax increment financing to fund public infrastructure improvements on Springside Drive and Medina Road.

The TIF is a financing tool that utilizes only the increase in property tax revenue generated by the new development and allocates it to public infrastructure projects. In this particular case, the TIF would be funded by 75% of the increase of property taxes on the 4073 Medina Rd. property for a period of 10 years. The Holiday Inn property is also located in the Copley/Fairlawn School District. 75% of the tax revenue from the improvements made by the developer would be escrowed and used for construction of a turn lane on Springside Drive and other traffic improvements.

Important to note: property taxes on the current base valuation of the property remain unaffected and continue to be collected and received as normal. This would include property taxes collected for the benefit of the Copley/Fairlawn Schools. This approach ensures the burden of public infrastructure development does not fall solely on the local government and allows for the timely implementation of necessary improvements.

One of the main components of the proposed development is construction of a Sheetz gas station, a convenience store chain that offers fuel, food and various amenities. This addition will provide residents and visitors a refueling option and a wide range of food and beverages. The gas station will be constructed on the southernmost portion of the property closest to Medina Road and is expected to create job opportunities and increase Joint Economic Development District revenue.

Another element of the development plan is a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. This national chain provides residents with a new dining option, attracting visitors from neighboring areas and further establishing the location as a destination for dining and entertainment. The Texas Roadhouse will also contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and generating tax revenue.

The development plan also includes a third retail vendor, although the specific tenant has yet to be determined. The addition of a diverse retail offering is expected to cater to a wider range of consumer needs and preferences, fostering competition and further driving economic growth.

The rezoning change and subsequent development of 4073 Medina Rd. into a commercial hub is anticipated to provide numerous benefits to the local community. The project would create employment opportunities, generate additional JEDD revenue and replace the aging hotel built in 1962.

Furthermore, execution of a comprehensive development agreement ensures the developer adheres to all township requirements, while tax increment financing provides the means to improve public infrastructure with the proposed turn lane on Springside Drive, and other traffic improvements. The rezoning change, combined with these measures, signifies a collaborative effort between the developer and the township to create a thriving, well-planned commercial development that meets the needs and aspirations of the community.

As plans move forward and the development begins to take shape, Bath residents can look forward to a revitalization of the Montrose business district at this site. ∞