MUNROE FALLS – Council heard residents' complaints and unanimously agreed with the planning commission's recommendation not to allow a Circle K gas station/convenience store at the corner of Munroe Falls Avenue and Main Street (state Route 91).
At least five of the seven council members had to vote in favor of the plan to overrule the planning commission’s non-recommendation made in May. None did Tuesday night at Council’s meeting.
The $3.3 million project proposed a 4,600-square-foot building with 24 to 26 parking spaces and five fueling islands.
Circle K's plan was to consolidate two other properties, one in Cuyahoga Falls on Bailey Road and one in Munroe Falls at 85 S. Main St., to the Munroe Falls Avenue corner site.
Residents complained it would add to already existing traffic problems and the project was too large for the 0.9-acre lot.
Mayor James Armstrong told Council they could not send the legislation back to the planning commission. He said the city would need to look at its zoning codes and the direction for properties in the city.
"We need to get clarification why planning commission made this recommendation," Armstrong said.
Councilmember Mike Barnes said they had heard everything.
"We have an obligation to reconcile this one way or another," Barnes said.
Barnes said Circle K asked for nine variances and agreed the city should look at its zoning codes.
"Are the regulations reasonable or too restrictive?" Barnes said. "What is best for the community?"
Councilmember Allen Mavrides said there was nothing wrong with the code, which allowed a gas station and convenience store in the town center but the size of a garage, not the larger building proposed.
"What we were presented, it was horrendous," Mavrides said. "It was too big on this property. You can't put this gas station/convenience store here."
Mavrides listed the variances which included a 25.34-foot variance on the front parking setback along Route 91 and 15-foot variance on the front parking setback along Munroe Falls Avenue.
Also a 19.45-foot variance for a sign fronting Munroe Falls Avenue and a 24.85-foot variance for a sign fronting Route 91 with 104.1-square-foot variance on the maximum sign area permitted was necessary to accommodate the project.
"You jam all of that into there and it won't work," Mavrides said. "By eliminating the setbacks, you eliminate the safety areas."
Savanna VanDeKamp Peet, manager for the Circle K project, reminded Council that the board of zoning appeals approved all nine variances, the final on June 10. The other eight variances were approved in October 2018.
In a previous meeting, VandeKamp Peet said if the application was denied, Circle K would have to re-evaluate the current site in Munroe Falls.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org