Costco wins split in Perrysburg Council

Perrysburg mayor Mike
Olmstead adjourns a special meeting on Ordinance No. 32-14 which green lighted special approval use of
zoned land for the Perrysburg Costco Project. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)

PERRYSBURG – Mayor Mike Olmstead cast the tie-breaking vote Tuesday defeating a motion to grant
conditional approval to Costco, after which council approved the project 4-2 without any conditions.
The mayor’s deciding vote became necessary after council split 3-3 on a motion by member Tim McCarthy to
reinforce anticipated changes to Costco’s plan by adding seven conditions to council’s approval of the
project. Council members Tom Mackin and Barry VanHoozen also supported the conditional approval, but it
was defeated by Olmstead’s vote.
McCarthy said he weighed an eighth condition that would have restricted development of two out-lots on
the property due to future traffic concerns, but that garnered little support from other members. John
Kevern, council president, said removing the out-lots would be a "deal killer."
The split on conditional approval was possible after councilor Jim Matuszak recused himself at the
beginning of the meeting due to a conflict of interest. Matuszak said afterward his accounting firm
represents a potential alternate site for the Costco project.
The special-approval use for Costco ultimately passed with no conditions due to support from VanHoozen,
who after first supporting the seven conditions also voted to approve the project with no strings
attached. The vote on approval without conditions was also affirmed by council members Todd Grayson,
Kevern and Rick Rettig, with Mackin and McCarthy voting no.
"This was not an easy decision. I’ve tried to not like Costco, I really have. I can’t," Rettig
said, noting that his mother lives in a neighborhood near the site.
"If I mess this up, I’m going to hear about it every day."
Costco must clear one more hurdle to move forward with a store at Ohio 25 and Eckel Junction Road – a
review of the final site plan by the city’s Planning Commission, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.

Map of proposed Costco
store placement.

The project has been mired in complaints and concerns from citizens worried that $2.2 million in road
improvements won’t relieve current traffic congestion, let alone that which would be brought by Costco
customers. Company representatives maintain that traffic won’t be as much of a problem as some think,
and that forcing a store into an inadequate location wouldn’t benefit them or their members.
The conditions McCarthy proposed be attached to council’s approval dealt with traffic and landscaping
features of the project.
"The conditions I spelled out were really things that weren’t reflected in the site plan," he
said. "I believe it’s appropriate to include those conditions. … I don’t think it asks Costco to
do anything they haven’t committed to do; it just clarifies what they have agreed to do.
"I’m simply trying to make certain on the record that if council grants this special use, it does so
pursuant to some explicit understandings."
Olmstead was adamant about the group approving Costco with no restrictions. He said he was worried that
the conditions would alter "a long-established process" of dealing with similar matters
through committees, commissions and the mayor’s administration.
"When I look at the seven or eight conditions that you apply, some of those will get handled in a
final site plan approval, and others in the construction-drawing phase months from now will be
addressed, and that’s historically how this has been done," Olmstead said.
"We’re here tonight for that special-approval use, which has a very delineated definition based upon
certain criteria. If we start to go outside of our process and create (a) new process because one
person, two people, five people, whatever the case may be – for whatever reason they have decided they
don’t like the process – I think there’s a time and a place to change that process, but I don’t think
it’s here."
Council member Todd Grayson agreed with leaving the duty to administrators of making sure the company
honors elements of its plan that were altered at the city’s request.
"I like all of them, one through seven, but I just don’t feel it’s our job as council, personally,
to intervene in this sense," Grayson said.