by Dan Holland
Dec. 14 zoning commission meeting
Members of the Bath Township Zoning Commission held a public hearing for a proposed Petitti Home & Garden Center to open on a 6-acre site at 395 Springside Dr. The applicant is requesting a zoning change from B-3 office, research and limited business to B-2 community business, which allows for retail operations.
If approved, the new business would repurpose an existing 29,000-square-foot office building at the site. A new 69,000-square-foot greenhouse-like structure, with retractable overhead shading for plants, is also planned. The site would require a curb cut for ingress/egress along N. Cleveland-Massillon Road for deliveries and two curb cuts for customer access along Springside Drive that would include 181 parking spaces.
“It’s an area we’re very excited to be in,” said Petitti owner AJ Petitti. “We operate nine retail garden centers in Northeast Ohio, and we grow 90 percent of the plant material we sell. We have outstanding relationships with every community we’re in and believe in giving back to the communities.”
Ian Jones, of Mann Parsons Gray Architects, said the exterior appearance of the business and parking area would be compatible with other nearby businesses. The next step involves an appearance before the board of zoning appeals, he added.
“We’re working with [Planning Director] Bill Funk on which exact variances are applicable,” said Jones. “The exterior of the building – the addition – will be reviewed by an architectural review board.”
Zoning commission members inquired about landscaping/screening at the site.
“We’re happy to work with recommendations from the township,” said AJ. “We’re envisioning hydrangea along the building and plantings along the street.”
“The goal is to make this location very unique in its own way, just like all the other locations have their own unique character,” added Petitti founder Angelo Petitti. “We want this to be a topnotch, first-class facility.”
The business expects to employ around 70 workers, including 45-50 full-time employees, according to AJ.
Commission members also inquired whether the current building is adaptable to the plan and also cited concerns about drainage toward an embankment at Lowe’s Home Improvement, which borders the property to the south at a lower elevation.
“We have a plan we have developed over the last few months to make the interior work for [Petitti’s] needs, and we’re in a comfortable spot in what we’ve come up with,” said Jones.
“We’re working with [the engineers] taking in the elevation to start looking at all of the options as far as the best way to go,” said Angelo. “With the way the grade is now, it will be made a lot more gentle and easier to maintain over time rather than having such a drop-off [by Lowe’s].”
Neal Levy spoke on behalf of David A. Levy & Associates, which borders the parcel to the west. He said he is in favor of the project, but expressed concerns about stormwater flow from the site, which sits at a high point along the southwest corner of Springside Drive and N. Cleveland-Massillon Road.
Plans may include a bioswale, said AJ. “It’s up to the engineers to make recommendations, but that’s one of the things on the table,” he said. “We’ve engaged our engineers along with MPG Architects, and once we get further down that path, that will be decided.”
The Summit County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing for the zoning change on Dec. 21 so Bath zoning decided to table the matter until Jan. 4. ∞