GRANGER TWP. — Menard Inc. is considering building a large development along the north side of state Route 18 that would include not only a Menards home improvement store but also another big-box store, other smaller retail outlets, an office/medical building and light industrial complex.

The potential project — a formal application has not been submitted to township officials — could encompass 300 acres stretching from Medina Line Road at the Medina County-Summit County border to the existing Pinnacle Sports complex.

The area is now a mix of farmland, wooded areas and residential property.

Representatives from the Eau Claire, Wis.-based chain met with township leaders this month to talk about the idea as part of the planned development district process. They also provided the township with a concept rendering of the project.

The township is waiting to see if the family-owned company, which has more than 300 stores throughout the Midwest, will make a formal application.

"We haven't heard," trustee Richard Pace said.

Menard spokesman Jeff Abbott said the company hopes to build a store in the area.

"We are still very early in the planning process and no official timeline has been established at this point in time," he said in an email.

Menard has been eyeing the property for a while. Earlier this year, township trustees rejected a zoning change for the project that included a Menards and smaller retail stores. At the time, the project faced stiff opposition from many nearby homeowners.

Officials had expected the company to return and make an application through the community's planned development district process, which is a more collaborative effort with township leaders and doesn't require a zoning change. The concept meeting was the first step in that process.

The project now covers a much larger area than first proposed, Pace said.

He said the company will have to submit a preliminary application and a final application for approval by the township. He also said he expects the project will go before the Medina County Planning Commission.

The concept rendering (available at www.ohio.com) shows a Menards store sitting well off the road with another big box store beside it, and smaller retail stores dotting the front of Route 18. An office/medical building would occupy 10 acres at the corner of Route 18 and Medina Line, while a light industrial area would take up 22 acres.

The rendering shows two traffic lights along Route 18 to gain access to the development, and another access point for cars turning in right or exiting right from the development. An access road would carry motorists around the development. There also are plans to preserve many existing trees and wetlands to serve as a buffer and open space.

The rendering is labeled "Concept B." Abbott didn't respond to specific questions about other concepts or whether Menard already has lined up other tenants for the development.

There is one property along Route 18 that isn't part of the project. The site, which includes a house, is labeled "Future development."

The property owner, who asked not to be identified for this article, said he eventually will sell his land. He has lived at the site for 40 years and recalled how the area has transitioned from a bucolic setting with slow-moving farm equipment traveling along the road to a bustling commercial and industrial strip with vehicles speeding along a highway.

"I don't want to live here when it is all developed," he said.

He said he's not a fan of the proposed development.

"Change is inevitable," he added. "You don't like it, but it is."

Route 18 — which runs between Interstates 71 and 77 — has seen tremendous commercial growth over the last several years. The four-lane road, which separates Granger and Sharon townships, has added major businesses such as Panther Premium Logistics, National Design Mart and Discount Drug Mart, along with many smaller businesses, in recent years.

Joellen Lippitt, who has lived on Medina Line for more than 25 years with her family, is unhappy with the proposed development across the street.

"My heart is broken," she said.

She questioned whether the area needs more development and another home improvement store, especially with some vacancies in the nearby Montrose shopping area. She noted that Home Depot, Lowe's, Building 9 and National Design Mart are all located nearby.

The property produces "beautiful corn," there are wild turkeys that call it home and an arrowhead was found there, she said.

"It’s a crime to see it obliterated for more of the same stuff," Lippitt said. "How much do we need?"

 

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.