The Wadsworth Planning Commission recommended the City Council not rezone two lots on College Street near the intersection with state Route 57 from residential to commercial by a 3-2 vote on Monday.
Planning and Zoning Director Jeff Kaiser presented the case for the rezoning, noting the existing land uses and zoning and that the residential classification of the lots is no longer appropriate or practical because College Street is an arterial street.
The rezoning request was made by Stop'n Go. The company that bought the lots, razed two houses and expected to combine those lots with one it already owned to create a site for a convenience store with gasoline pumps and a car wash.
However, neighborhood residents abutting the proposed project raised numerous concerns at a July 30 informational meeting held by the developers. At a second informational meeting on Aug. 20, the developers announced they had made a number of changes based upon some of the concerns expressed by the neighborhood residents at the first meeting.
The commission then held a public hearing on the issue Monday.
Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, also made a pitch recommending the rezoning. Dentler said the Stop'n Go store would be a good fit for the area and a good neighbor.
Then, one by one, with a time limit of two minutes each, more than 20 neighborhood and area residents took the microphone and made objections to the rezoning request and the possibility of a Stop'n Go in their backyards.
After hearing the pros and cons of the rezoning, Mayor Robin Laubaugh and Commission Chairman Jim Cummings voted to recommend the rezoning. Commissioners Walt Gairing, Andy Graham and Service Director Chris Easton voted against the rezoning.
Laubaugh said it "was not an easy decision" and "we don't take this lightly." Gairing noted he has "always been pro-business" and has "agonized over this issue for months." Gairing believed "C-3 zoning for the lots was too intensive."
Even though the commission recommended against the rezoning, it will be placed on the council's agenda. The council will hold a public hearing on the issue and decide if the lots should be rezoned.
Kaiser said if the council decides to overrule the recommendation of the commission, it will require a supermajority vote of the council, meaning it needs at least five of the seven votes of the members.