Perrysburg shopping for Kroger plan PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By WILL MALONE Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 30 October 2009 11:48
PERRYSBURG - The Planning Commission has seen the broad stokes of an updated site plan for a new Kroger store, but members want a formal proposal before committing to a decision on the project.
Developers for the proposed Kroger store, which would be located at the southeast corner of Ohio 25 and Roachton Road, had submitted a revised site plan to the commission as expected. However, the developers subsequently made additional changes to accommodate more recent recommendations and only submitted those plans to the city last week.
The Planning Commission saw for the first time Thursday a "revised" revised plan, which shows the property's southern drive along Route 25 moving farther south. As the developers explained, the modification has a domino effect on other features of the development. The commission ultimately agreed to hold a special meeting Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m. to help the store meet deadlines for closing a deal on the property, but not without some reluctance about changing the schedule.
John Wanick, the commission chair, said he resisted exceptions to rules that would set a precedent for similar scheduling requests.
"I understand your concern, but looking at the time frame, have you not had plenty of opportunity to basically verify or revise your plan?" he asked developers at one point.
Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Administrator Rick Thielen noted that the Oct. 2 revised plan, which the developers submitted on schedule, accounted for several recommendations made in September by the Planning Commission. But an update of that plan was presented for the first time Oct. 22 at the Architectural Review Committee meeting.
"So one would have to say, 'Why didn't this Oct. 2 plan reflect those changes that came out of the Planning Commission meeting last month, which included comments about the distance of the roads,'" he said, pointing specifically to a debate about plans for a right-in/right-out access on Dixie Highway.
But George Oravecz, a project consultant, said the discussion last month did not include specific changes to the location of the signalized intersection at the south end of the project along Route 25. He said the recommendation to move that access farther south occurred at a meeting with city administration, staff and representatives and Ohio Department of Transportation a few days after the Planning Commission meeting. And since the developers had to submit their revised site plan on the same day, he said, the Oct. 2 site plan did not account for the most recent recommendations regarding the southern drive.
Thielen said after the meeting that ODOT had recommended the southern drive be located 1,350 feet from Roachton Road or 1,000 feet at a minimum.
The most recent site plans place the southern access and traffic light 1,060 feet from Roachton.
To accommodate the change, developers moved a northern right-in/right-out access on Route 25 farther south, increased overall landscaping to about 37 percent and rearranged plantings as well as increased the Kroger store parcels of the project from 9.32 acres to 9.93 acres. The size of surrounding outlots also increased.
The Oct. 2 revised plan also included a requested 25-foot greenspace buffer along Roachton and Route 25, which has been a concern to neighboring Perrysburg Heights residents.
According to a preliminary comparison of the Oct. 2 and Oct. 22 plans prepared by Thielen, the updated plan includes fewer shade trees and landscape islands than the city requires for the grocery store and retail parcels.
The administrator continues not to support a right-in/right-out drive on Route 25. Much of the discussion about the traffic study focused on this feature.
Jean Hartline, senior project manager for Mannik & Smith, again cautioned that - without that access - many people would likely try to make a more dangerous left turn at Roachton Road to the north instead of backtracking to the light at the southern drive. She said the right-in/right-out on Route 25 would create a relief valve for other traffic hot spots that may emerge.
Wanick initially asked the developers to return with their updated plan at the regularly scheduled December meeting. Commission members said they needed to see a formal review of the new site plan.
"I cannot approve a site plan that I have not had before me," commission member Becky Williams said.
But property owner Jeff Reitzel and Danbury National President Brian McMahon asked the commission to make an exception, considering the developers' tight deadlines. McMahon said the deal needed to be finalized before Dec. 31, after which Kroger would enter a new tax year. He said a delay would affect the store's financial plans.
Mayor Nelson Evans said the he thought the community was anxious to see the project completed and that he would not oppose a special meeting, but deferred to Wanick. Williams added she would not be able to attend the December meeting.
Wanick decided to allow the rescheduling request and told developers they must submit their new plan by Monday. Pending approval of the preliminary site plan from the commission, the project will next head to the Architectural Review Committee.

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