STOW — A proposed gas station and convenience store for a site on Kent Road has taken a first step in seeking city approval.

The planning commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to recommend approval by city council for the proposed 3,376 square foot convenience store/ gas station at 4209/4217 Kent Road. The site is across Kent Road from the Stow Community Shopping Center, aligned with the western entrance nearest Target, and would include a convenience store building 3,376 square feet in size, a gas canopy and five pump islands.

The proposed project is located on two parcels with homes at 4217 Kent Road and 4209 Kent Road for a total of 6.7 acres. Of this total, approximately 4.7 acres is zoned C-4. If the plan is approved, Meijer would have to purchase the two properties from the homeowners, according to Kurtz.

The property is zoned C-4 general business and gas stations are conditionally permitted in this district subject to site plan approval.

The project site includes a building area, parking lot, circulations drive and stormwater detention on the north side, which compromises approximately 2.8 acres.

Representatives from Meijer answered questions for residents on the Kent Road properties and those living in a development behind the property who attended the planning commission meeting.

Chris Jones, real estate manager for Meijer, said they opened the Meijer store 10 months ago in Stow and the support of the community has been great. They wanted to make an additional investment in Stow.

"This [gas] station employs 14 people and is a $2.5 million investment," Jones said. 

Rob Kurtz, the city’s director of planning and development, said the applicant is proposing to install a traffic signal at this location where the drive into the gas station would align with the store entrance if the plan is approved by Council.

The applicant is proposing a right-in only entrance at the eastern end of the property.

Brian Smallwood of Woolpert Inc. on behalf of Meijer, said the project would be a 3,300 to 3,400 square foot convenience store with 10 pumps at five stations.

Lights would be synced up to move traffic through the corridor, Smallwood said.

A retaining wall with a fence on top would be built along the eastern side because of the change in grade, he said.

The diesel station would be for cars and pickup trucks and not for larger scale trucks, Smallwood said.

Jones said it would be easier to make a left turn out of Target with the stop light and a protected left turn on both sides of the street.

In 2017-18 Development Management Groups LLC and its client Anchor Retail Solutions proposed a revised plan for a two-unit retail building, restaurant and convenience store/gas station on the same two parcels plus the neighboring parcel at 4185 Kent Street. Council approved the project Feb. 22, 2018. It was subsequently withdrawn by the applicant in April 2018.

Owners of the 4185 Kent Road property, not part of this proposed plan, said they would not be able to get out of their driveway because of traffic and the proposed light.

Jones said a drive extension access could be linked to their property, and they could use the gas station lot to exit onto Kent Road.

Another concern was for the wetlands located to the rear and next to the two properties that would have to be purchased for the project. Some residents of Heatherwood Court complained of flooding in their backyards, but their property lines are 1,100 feet away from the proposed project.

Smallwood said the retention pond in the back would be a dry pond and would help reduce water flow by holding it and letting it out slowly.

"They’re not making the situation worse by development," said William Ross of the planning commission.

Residents also were concerned about trees in the rear of the property but they were marked for counting and not for cutting, Smallwood said. 

"There will be no clearing beyond the [retention] pond," Smallwood said. 

Another resident wanted to know when improvements would be made to state Route 59 but repairs are made by the Ohio Department of Transportation, not the city, for state highways, Kurtz said.

Heatherwood Court residents were concerned with trash blowing into their backyards and views of the gas station from their homes.

Jones said they would plant trees and add a fence in back of the retention pond to take care of those problems. The lights would be recessed and point downward in the canopy above the pumps.

The proposal will go to city council for its consideration at a future meeting.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com