|Perrysburg Kroger site closer to checkout|
|Written by By WILL MALONE Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 17 November 2009 10:09|
PERRYSBURG - The checkout line just got shorter for developers of a proposed Kroger store along the city's economic corridor.
After a lengthy special meeting Monday, Planning Commission members signed off on a preliminary site plan for the project - which includes a roughly 10-acre Kroger parcel and a 6.82-acre retail parcel - to be located at the southeast corner of Ohio 25 and Roachton Road.
The approved plans also call for a 25-foot greenspace buffer along Roachton Road and Route 25 to address concerns from the neighboring Perrysburg Heights about safety and traffic flow.
A five-pump fuel center and three out parcels will be considered in future reviews.
The Planning Commission had agreed to schedule a special meeting to help the retailer meet deadlines for closing a deal on the property. Developers wanted an early decision from the city so a deal could be finalized before the end of this year and the beginning of a new tax year.
Gary Yunker - a real estate consultant representing Bostleman Development as part of a joint venture with RLWest Properties - confirmed early this year that his group has an option on about 45 acres that it intends to purchase from the Reitzel family if the city eventually signs off on the project. The developing entities would then sell a portion of that property to Kroger and could sell or lease the remaining acreage to supporting independent businesses.
Most of the commission's discussion during the two-hour-plus meeting pivoted on landscaping and traffic issues.
Critical to the viability of the project was the placement of a full access drive with a traffic light along Dixie Highway between Roachton Road and Progress Drive. The commission would ultimately approve the request from Kroger to install the drive entrance 1,066 feet south of Roachton and at the southwest corner of the project. But Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Administrator Rick Thielen - as well as members Jim Bilkovsky and Mary Krueger - pushed for 1,320 feet, putting the light halfway between Roachton and Progress, as suggested by Ohio Department of Transportation.
But Jean Hartline, senior project manager for Mannick and Smith, said no technical reason existed for demanding that the developers accommodate placement in excess of ODOT's 1,000-foot requirement. She said developers told her moving the light farther south could be a "project-killer." Hartline also told commission member Becky Williams that neither location was safer than the other.
Matt Hobart, construction manager, said the store would depend on positioning itself at the edge of the light. "By moving it - that would have a severe detriment on our success and desire to go into that location."
The administrator's recommendation would have placed the light just north of Harbor Town Place development, which is located on the west side of Ohio 25, and south of a couple of yet-to-be development parcels. Harbor Town owner Tim Gruber had offered to pay for half of the light if it was installed at 1,360 feet and if the city allowed access from the development to Kroger.
However, project consultant George Oravecz said the Harbor Town development could still extend a stub road farther north and connect to the drive at 1,066 feet.
"It really diminishes their position in the development corridor" with regard to marketing and visibility, he said of Kroger.
Bilkovsky and Kreuger argued that the 1,360-foot location would better serve the city's future development along Dixie Highway.
"I'd hate to see it go down the tubes and be ticky-tacky all the way down and punctuated with traffic signals that are needless at this time," Bilkovsky said.
Krueger added, "I feel strongly that we have one opportunity to look at not just today but the future of Perrysburg and the future of what State Route 25 looks like."
The developers made a concession to the commission by agreeing to eliminate a right-out drive on Roachton Road. The plans now show an eastern full access intersection and a western right-in drive on Roachton as well as a right-in/right-out drive and full access drive with signalization on Dixie Highway.
The commission further agreed to allow Kroger to add less than the amount of required islands - which were staggered between every nine parking spaces - but will ask for a total of 21 more shade trees within the retail and Kroger parcels in the final plan. The site plan already shows 36 percent overall landscape area, in excess of the city's 15-percent requirement.
The preliminary plan was approved with member Greg Bade absent. Kroger representatives next will need to schedule a meeting with the ARC.
Commission Chair John Wanick said the city hoped the project would result an appealing and economically feasible asset for the community and the Kroger company.
"We look forward to having you in the community," he said. "And we certainly hope that Kroger and the members of the Heights will get along very well and have a good relationship."
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