REQUEST TABLED — A proposal by Stewart’s Shops to put a convenience store with gas pumps at the corner of South Jay Street and Erie Boulevard West, shown above, was tabled by the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday after a board member resigned rather than vote on the request. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Stewart’s proposal tabled as ZBA member steps down

Published Dec 9, 2017 at 2:30pm

A proposal by Stewart’s Shops to put a convenience store with gas pumps at the corner of Jay Street and Erie Boulevard West was tabled by the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday after a board member resigned rather than vote on the request.

David Patrick was the first of four members of the five-member volunteer board present called on to make his vote at the meeting.

Rather than take a side in the special use permit request that brought out supporters and opponents of the plan, he resigned from the board on the spot.

Stewart’s is planning a store on what is currently six parcels around the intersection of Jay and Erie Boulevard West. These parcels are 118, 120 and 122 S. Jay St.; 502 Erie Blvd. W.; 505 and 509 Arsenal Place. 

The properties total 0.38 acres of vacant land and a 0.15-acre parcel with a house on Arsenal Place. 

The permit would allow construction of a convenience store with gasoline service.

This type of business is only allowed in the area’s zone type by special permit to be reviewed on a case-by-base basis.

In addition to those who were requesting the permit, representatives from the nearby Kekis Citgo convenience store and gas station spoke against the plan because it would put three gas stations within three blocks.

Several residents in the area also voiced opposition, noted Mark Domenico, the city’s chief code enforcement officer and adviser to the board.

Patrick said his decision was made with “deep regret,” but because he has “friends on both sides of the fence” he found he was unable to be objective.

He asked for clarification from Domenico, a man he said is “the fairest guy I know,” and tried to decide, but in the end he proclaimed that he was “not doing the board any good. You have to go by the criteria.”

He said he hopes to have
an opportunity in the future to help, perhaps in some other capacity.

Because one board member, James DiCastro, was already absent from the meeting, the board chose to table the request until the next meeting.

If the vote had been taken without two members, it would require the other three to approve it because an approval requires a majority of board members not just a majority of the members present. The board will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

Also on the agenda was an area variance request by Olney’s Real Estate of Rome, owner of 7820 Rome-Westernville Road, for
permission to increase the sign area of a business identification sign and reduce the required clearance between ground and the bottom of the sign.

That request was tabled by the applicant because it still needed information from the state Department of Transportation about a state permit process, Domenico said.

The company has its floral shop at the 2002 N. James St. location and its landscape center at 6855 Wright Settlement Road, both near the lot under
discussion.