The Munroe Falls Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision to grant variances to Circle K to build at the city’s busiest intersection is being challenged in court by an adjacent property owner.

The Kremer Family Revocable Trust (the appellant), which owns property at 25 S. Main St. (state Route 91), Munroe Falls, filed a notice of appeal in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 15 against the city and its Board of Zoning Appeals concerning decisions BZA made last month.

According to court documents, the appellant filed this notice of appeal from the decision of the appellees, BZA in particular, concerning variances requested by Circle K to build a $3.3 million gas station/convenience store at 9 S. Main St., Munroe Falls, on the corner of state route 91 and Munroe Falls Avenue. 

A BZA hearing took place on Oct. 23 where, according to the filing, "a decision was issued at the conclusion of the meeting after the BZA adjourned to an executive session to discuss the variances and make its decision. This appeal is based on question of law and fact."

The notice called the BZA’s decision "unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and unsupported." The appeal was filed by attorney E. Spencer Muse for the appellant. Muse had not returned a call for comment at press time.

At that meeting, the BZA voted 4-1 to go into executive session after the city Law Director Tom Kostoff cautioned them not to because there was nothing in the city’s charter that supported them entering a closed-door meeting. 

Board President Nicole Welsh noted Muse wrote in a memorandum to the board that if the variances are granted, his client, the Kremer Family Revocable Family Trust, would appeal the decision to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. "I can only give my opinion. I can’t make the board take it," Kostoff said during the Oct. 23 hearing.

When contacted by phone on Nov. 28, Kostoff said he had no comment at this time.

Willam P. Kremer, a trustee for the Kremer Family Revocable Trust, and attorney Muse attended two BZA hearings including the one that took place Oct. 23 as well as one in September. Kremer, on his own and through Muse, objected to the granting of the variances and made known the Kremer family trust would file an appeal if the board granted the variances.

On Oct. 23, John Iski, the company’s real estate development manager, told the BZA more space on the lot eyed for construction would be ideal, but it’s the only corner lot in town on which to build a new convenience store and gas station. Iski said the new location would serve as a consolidation of two existing stores in Munroe Falls and Cuyahoga Falls that have been performing poorly.

BZA approved eight of nine variances requested by Circle K. The variances BZA approved were rear yard depth, front parking setback on state Route 91, accessory structure setback rear yard, off-street parking spaces convenient store, interior parking lot landscaping, corner lot free standing sign setback northeast corner (2) and maximum sign area permitted.

A 19.5-foot-variance on the city’s required 20-foot front parking setback was denied. Circle K’s plans called for a 6-inch setback along Munroe Falls Avenue. 

The court filing noted "no administrative appeal or remedy is available from an other administrative board or body of the City of Munroe Falls." It stated the notice of appeal was delivered to the city law director in person and to the BZA secretary, Larisa Mavrides, by taping it to the front door of her home.

Reporter Steve Wiandt can be reached at 330-541-9420, swiandt@recordpub.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.