Perrysburg rules on grocery & restaurant proposals

Plans for a shopping center in Perrysburg were approved Thursday while another proposal for a restaurant
was denied following a discussion of legal arguments surrounding a billboard on Ohio 25.
Perrysburg Planning Commission approved preliminary and final site plans for a new Kroger store to be
built next to an existing location on U.S. 20. There was some discussion about conditions for the
approval, which was eventually granted with some elements of the plan yet to be reviewed by Brody
Walters, planning and zoning administrator.
A developer’s proposal for a Taco Bell on Route 25, however, prompted a lengthy conversation about a
billboard which stands near the former site of the DC Ranch, where the restaurant would be built.
Developer George Kentris and attorneys left a small parcel containing the billboard out of the
preliminary site plan they submitted, as the billboard currently enjoys legal but nonconforming status.

Officials explained that since the multiple land parcels make up a single zoning parcel of C-4 highway
commercial, a change in the surrounding land parcels would remove the legal exemption allowing the sign.

The billboard owner said it was constructed eight years ago when the property remained in Perrysburg
Township before being annexed into the city. Attorneys for the developer said the owner has $70,000
invested in the billboard and was not compelled to remove it, as it is under contract with advertisers
through 2021.
Kentris said he worried that the two parties would be tied up in court for a year or two until a dispute
over a clause in the billboard lease could be resolved. Specifically, the contract states the billboard
can be removed if it’s shown to prevent construction on the property, a fact the owner has contested.

Kentris and his attorney and engineer attempted to form an agreement that would permit the billboard
until the contract expires, at which point it would be removed. Their arguments were not well received
by Mayor Mike Olmstead and Mathew Beredo, the city’s law director, who argued that they would have no
ability to enforce such an agreement.
Olmstead cautioned that he did indeed want the restaurant to move forward, but it would set a troubling
precedent for future projects, particularly within the Ohio 25 corridor, a valued development area for
"If we were to approve this, the way I’m looking at it, then what’s going to prevent the line of
people coming in" asking for similar relief, the mayor asked.
"How do we enforce, then, a standard on one of the most important business corridors the city’s
going to have for the foreseeable future?" Olmstead continued. "With your remedy, I can see it
would work for you. I don’t see how it works for the city."