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Get-Go location may hold up plans
Get-Go location may hold up plans
By SUE REID
Solon City Council members opposed the request by owners of the Solar Center shopping plaza to rezone property that would allow for a Get-Go gas station and to place that request on the November ballot.
During a public hearing Monday, both the City of Solon and shopping center owners Perlick-Caplin desire the Get-Go gas station to be located off-site from a proposed new Giant Eagle grocery store, but the grocer has indicated it wants to have the option of having the gas station on-site. The site would have to rezoned to C4, or motor-service commercial.
Architect David Scherry, of Herschman Architects, of Warrensville Heights, showed council members a conceptual site plan which placed the Get-Go along SOM Center Road (Route 91), just north of the Giant Eagle.
Attorney Anthony Coyne, who is representing the city in negotiations with the proposal, said that Giant Eagle has made it clear it will not move forward with the project without having the option of having the Get-Go on-site.
The business model plan requires this, Mr. Coyne said he was told.
They (Giant Eagle) require this or they won't do it, Mr. Coyne said of the project. "That's the situation we're in, to be very candid."
City Law Director David J. Matty reiterated this point, stating that Giant Eagle conveyed to both Mr. Coyne and city Planning Director Robert S. Frankland during a recent meeting at their headquarters in Pittsburgh that for their business plan and for their investment they will not go forward with the project without having the option of the Get-Go on-site. Mr. Matty was part of the meeting via telephone.
"There was a refusal, not a hesitancy, to move forward with the business plan without having this option," Mr. Matty said.
"Why are we even trying to carve out a separate zoning classification for Giant Eagle?" Councilman Robert N. Pelunis asked.
Mr. Pelunis said that in other areas, like Twinsburg, Bedford and Warrensville Heights, the Get-Gos are located off-site from where the Giant Eagle stores are. There is a site just several hundred feet away from the Solar Center where a former Sunoco gas station was located on the corner of SOM Center (Route 91) and Aurora (Route 43) roads that is already zoned C4, Mr. Pelunis gave as an example.
He asked whether an effort was made by the shopping center owners to locate the gas station where zoning is already in place in the city.
James Perlick, who was in attendance at the meeting, said they are negotiating three or four other sites in the city with Giant Eagle, "but each one presents its own challenges for different reasons."
"Do you want the Get-Go on your property?" Councilman John T. Scott asked Mr. Perlick.
"I'd prefer it off-site," Mr. Perlick said.
"This is an opportunity given the economy, that the shopping center owners want to take advantage of at this point," Mr. Coyne said of the redevelopment project.
"Why would we rezone this and lose the incentive to place the Get-Go off-site?" Councilman Edward K. Suit asked. "Why would we put it on the November ballot?" The city will do anything within reason for the redevelopment of this shopping center, Mr. Suit said, but why rezone that area now? That option can be revisited in the future, he said.
"We are doing everything Giant Eagle wants," Mr. Suit said. "All we are asking for is what we see all over the place. It's not unreasonable."
Mr. Suit also said the majority of the planning commission recommended the Get-Go be off-site.
Commission member Roger C. Newberry had said the city zoning code says motor-service commercial are for the convenience of the motoring public and are to be located near freeway exchanges.
Where it is being proposed is nowhere close to a freeway exchange, Mr. Suit said. The SOM Center and Aurora roads intersection is not a freeway exit, Mr. Suit said.
"Since we have alternative sites available, I can't see allowing Get-Go on this site," Mr. Suit said.
"We are very supportive of what Giant Eagle wants to do here," Mayor Kevin C. Patton said. "Solon is an important site for them and so is Get-Go." They would like it as close to the store as possible, he said.
Mr. Patton said he agrees with Mr. Pelunis and Mr. Suit regarding the fact that there are other viable sites that have been gas stations. "We have communicated that to them (Giant Eagle)," Mr. Patton said of using a site that either has been or is currently used as a gas station.
Mr. Pelunis said, "I want to make sure they look at other locations to put the Get-Go where there is already an existing gas station or a former site of a gas station. That way it would be a lot easier for the city in that the zoning is proper for those locations."
Mr. Pelunis also noted traffic flow issues if the Get-Go would be located on SOM Center Road as indicated in a conceptual plan.
"Giant Eagle wants a large store to serve this community as well as a Get-Go," Mr. Scherry said. To do this, a considerable part of the shopping center, 80,000-square-feet, must be demolished, he said, to accommodate for the 100,000-square-foot Giant Eagle.
Mr. Scherry said that the plan calls for smaller buildings to be constructed to house the displaced tenants once construction begins. If successful on the November ballot, he said, the buildings would begin being constructed in six to eight months for the tenants to occupy them. A pad would then be cleared out for the Giant Eagle by September.
Regarding the Get-Go, Mr. Scherry said, it will have 12 pumps with an 1,100 square-foot building attached to it. It would not have a car wash. A total of about 1.1 acres of the 21-acre site would need to be rezoned to C4.
To lease a small section that would be a gas station, zoning needs to be changed from C-3, general retail, to C-4, motor-service commercial. Shopping center owners would be asking for C-3 zoning change for properties they own east of the plaza currently zoned office.
Councilman and committee member Lon D. Stolarsky asked Mr. Scherry for the legal description of the acreage that is requested to be rezoned.
Mr. Frankland said this information would be needed by the planning commission by this week. "They need a conceptual site plan and elevations," Mr. Frankland said. "The planning commission can't vote on nothing."
It is most likely they would have to schedule a special meeting, Mr. Frankland said. The absolute last date this could be sent to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections would be Sept. 4.
The public hearing will remain open, Councilwoman Susan A. Drucker said, due to the fact that this is the first anyone has seen of conceptual plans. "The public doesn't really have anything to comment on" at this point, she said.
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