Vermilion Municipal Planning Commission met on Nov. 3.

Douglas boat storage

                John Reyes of Star Builders, Inc. Amherst, said he is the architect representing the client for this the building on Douglas Street (Northeast Corner of Douglas/Devon), PP#:18-00835 for a new boat storage building. Chairman Joe Williams addressed the city engineer’s comments in his correspondence dated Oct. 29 regarding distance from the side setback.  City Engineer Chris Howard explained they would need to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance for the setback, so if Planning Commission approves the application, it will be contingent upon getting BZA’s approval.

                Williams asked if it was possible to do some landscaping around the building as they are not far from residences and they are across from the new fire station which is nice looking, so he thought it would help to make this building fit in. Reyes said there is some frontage along Devon Drive that would be nice to add some arborvitae. Reyes said they would like to leave as much as they can along Devon and the eastern property line.  Obviously, they will need to clean some of that for the ingress along Devon, but if they can retain some of this they will.  Williams asked if the front of the building is the short dimension.  Howard said it is a corner lot, so they are both considered frontage.

                Planning member Heidi Strickler said with the ballot issue that passed with no storage – will it affect this at all.  Mayor Forthofer said no, as this was intended mostly for residential areas.  Councilwoman Bard Brady said it was never meant to affect anything going into the industrial zoned areas.  Williams said he recalls it as residential and business zoning.  Planning member Heather Shirley asked what the color scheme is of the building. Reyes said they haven’t worked this out, but they will be primarily neutral colors, nothing flashy. Shirley asked if they had any issues with putting in a sidewalk as it will need to be installed along the Devon Drive frontage.  Reyes understood this requirement.  Brady asked if there would be exterior boat parking and Reyes said no.

                Planning voted 3-0 to approve the preliminary site plan contingent upon the city engineer’s comments, along with a request when the applicant comes back for the final site plan that they provide a landscaping plan, and the building color is neutral as specified, and sidewalks as noted.

Auto Zone on Liberty

                Fran Blanchard of 340 County Road 355, Leesburg, Alabama was present to represent Garcia Rentals as well as Auto Zone at 4450 Liberty Avenue. 

                Williams confirmed he would be submitting the building plans in more detail later as this is just the preliminary site plan.  Blanchard said Auto Zone is working on architectural plans and they have the landscape plan and parking. 

                Shirley asked if there was concern about the competition next to them.  Blanchard explained they do a lot of these, and they have built around 150 Auto Zones around the country.  The Advance, Auto Zone, and O’Reilly’s usually choose to go around one another.  It just breeds success for them.  He said Auto Zone is the leader in the retail business, but it does not mean they will make Advance go under.  Somehow, the COVID has made today’s society not only because of the money, but people are working on their vehicles, so a few years ago they tried to the deal in Vermilion, but they could not make the numbers work even though they got the industry leader.  There are a lot of committees they have to go through to get a Fortune 300 Company to come to the city.  However, the numbers work, and it works where Advance makes it and it works where Auto Zone makes it, so the competition with the two together are right.  They make for good business, or they wouldn’t go in and spend millions of dollars putting these things up if they thought they would shut down in 10 years.

                Shirley asked if the plan it to level the existing building and Blanchard responded yes.  He said they will revitalize, and it will be a great lot. Shirley asked what their goal is to start construction.  Blanchard said they are closing December 4 and once the city signs off on everything they will work as fast as possible – they will be building in 2022. Shirley asked how many months it will take them to build.  Blanchard said around 120 days. Shirley asked how many employees they are looking at. Blanchard said they usually house around seven.

                Williams asked if they would have the landscape plan when they submit their final plans.  Blanchard said the landscape is actually in the civils, but it will be dressed up more in the architectural plans.  Williams said they are attempting to make anything that is bordering on Liberty a lot nicer looking than it has in the past, so they want to make sure this is addressed.  Blanchard said Auto Zone makes sure their landscape is nice – they also have their stipulations.

                Councilwoman Brady said storm water has been a big issue along Liberty, and she sees they have detention and asked if they are going into the Crystal Shores ditch.  Blanchard said yes as there is already piping there for it and they plan on revamping that.  The engineers are getting with the city to get their easement in place and if they get more water than what they can handle onsite then it will drain to this.  Howard said they will do storm water management. Blanchard said to go to the creek it is basically for emergency as they have onsite detention.

                Planning voted to approve the preliminary site plan as submitted.

Lot splits/consolidations

                Gloria Hendricks of 6783 Cliffside Dr. requested approval to split and reconsolidate some of her properties. Williams asked if these were undeveloped properties. Hendricks said years ago they owned the bottom land and Metro took over and they had a 30’ easement in all of their back yards, so the neighbor that wants to buy it now wasn’t one of the six, so Metro gave them theirs, so this is how they got the three. Williams confirmed they are splitting the property and selling it to the neighbors. Williams addressed the city engineer’s correspondence dated October 29, 2021, and believed their engineer resubmitted the minor changes.  Howard confirmed there were minor changes. Planning approved the actions.

                Robert Kilbane, Claus Road/Sunnyside Road – PP#:01-00-021-000-063, 064, & 065 (Lot Split/Lot Consolidation). Kilbane of 19885 Detroit Road, Rocky River, Ohio explained he came before the Planning Commission at a zoom meeting months back and he made a mistake as he had Rafter & Associates subdivide the property, but he should have gone to the sanitation engineer first, so he wanted it changed slightly, so Rafter redid it.  He said the 19 acres become 15 as the sanitation engineer said it would work better for the septic system.  He said he brought the original plans that were previously approved in case the commission wanted to revisit it. 

                Howard said there was only a small legal description typo that was submitted.  Clerk Gwen Fisher said she received the corrected legal description. Williams said he is combining the lots and asked if there is a purpose behind it. Kilbane explained they subdivided the lots and the engineer wanted it changed as noted. Planning approved the action.