Bexley officials oppose Sheetz development at East Livingston and College avenues
Bexley City Council and Mayor Ben Kessler are not in favor of a Sheetz gas station and convenience store proposed for a site at the intersection of East Livingston and College avenues.
The site will require rezoning and is scheduled to come before the Columbus Development Commission on April 8.
Council voted 7-0 on March 9 to approve Resolution 02-21 supporting Kessler’s concerns that the proposed development is not in the best interest of Bexley residents.
“There are currently four existing gas stations within one mile of the proposed location, and at least three additional gas stations within two miles, and given the saturation of gas stations, the addition of the proposed development doesn’t align with Bexley’s environmental values,” the resolution states.
The resolution points out that Bexley and Columbus have entered into a Bexley/Berwick Joint Livingston Avenue Plan to address existing and future development and traffic improvement, “making this proposed development in the middle of the planning corridor premature and potentially contrary to the ultimate recommendations of the final plan.”
In voting to approve the resolution, council suspended the three-reading requirement and approved the resolution as an emergency at its first reading March 9.
Kessler said immediate action was necessary because the proposed Sheetz development is out of Bexley’s jurisdiction and the Columbus Development Commission is scheduled to consider the rezoning from a C4 Commercial District to a Commercial Planned Development this spring.
Kessler said Bexley residents should contact the city of Columbus with concerns about the Sheetz development because Columbus will be "considering testimony from … residents" before issuing a decision on the rezoning.
“(Commissioners) believe they’ve addressed all the comments from the neighborhood commissions,” said Tony Celebrezze, assistant director of the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services. “If not, they’ll have to table it until the May meeting.”
The Columbus Development Commission will consider Bexley City Council’s resolution, Celebrezze said.
“They’ll take that into account and go from there,” he said.
Upon introducing the resolution, Richard Sharp, chair of City Council’s service and environmental committee, said if the Sheetz development does move forward, he would like to see the gas station include a sit-down restaurant and charging stations for electric vehicles. The charging stations would complement goals outlined by Bexley’s environmental sustainability advisory committee, he said.
“The Sheetz website does indicate that they do have EV charging points at some of their stations,” Sharp said. “It would be a coup, I think, to central Ohio to have a 100% electric charging-point station right next to Bexley. We have a shortage of nice, sit-down restaurants in the area. It would encourage people to stay longer and charge.”
Last fall, Sheetz announced plans to expand into central Ohio with about a dozen new stores a year through 2025 with 15 locations being confirmed. The first store is expected to open April 13 at 710 Sunbury Road in Delaware.
Each store is expected to employ 30, with most of the positions full time, an earlier release from the company said. Sheetz, which is based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, also intends to work with nonprofits within the communities where stores operate to support scholastic and community efforts.
Sheetz is considered one of the fastest-growing family-owned and -operated convenience-store chains, with stores in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.