CONNEAUT – The Conneaut Planning Commission met in special session at 6:30 p.m. March 14
to further examine the proposed construction of an O'Reilly Auto parts store at State and Buffalo Streets, but the meeting accomplished less than expected.
Representatives of the company that were to present plans for further discussion with the Planning Commission were unable to attend because of the snowy weather.
But the gathering gave several citizens an opportunity to speak about the project. Most were in favor.
Jeremy Simak is one of the landowners who will be selling his property to the company.
"I go to the O"Reilly’s Auto Parts store in Ashtabula,” he said. “It is a reputable company. To have them come to Conneaut is all positive."
Jeremy’s mother, Marilyn Simak, also spoke.
"Conneaut is very unfriendly to business,” she said. “We have rentals and have never had problems in other places except in Conneaut. If you were more business-friendly, you would have a bigger tax base."
Her husband, Joe Simak agreed.
“She said it all,” he said. “This [store] would bring some jobs, and jobs are scarce. This would be a good thing,"
But neighbor and homeowner Beth Renn, whose property on Madison Street will abut the proposed project, disagreed.
"The variance should not be issued. The building is too large for the lot size. It should go to a property that is more fit for the building size,” she said.
Conneaut City Manager Jim Hockaday said there are unchanged issues. He said the lot size is 18 inches short and that the corner of Buffalo and State Street is a concern for exiting traffic exiting O’Reilly’s parking lot.
Both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals will have to approve the project.
The Planning Commission will meet on Tuesday, April 11 to further discuss the issue.
Company representatives are expected to be able to attend.
The Planning Commission was given additional responsibilities by Conneaut City Council via ordinance at Council’s March 13 meeting since the Design Review Board is defunct.
The project will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for variances once it has been approved by the Planning Commission.