The Chardon Planning Commission on Monday approved Sommers Development Group’s request for conditional use of a Starbucks drive-thru restaurant in the city’s commercial district.

Although the commission members favored a Starbucks at the proposed site, they were not happy about the orientation of the building and suggested that Sommers provide some alternative layouts.

“We really genuinely tried to analyze every possible scenario,” said developer Greg Sommers. “We would be glad to provide some comprehensive data on why this layout is pretty much the best option.”

As part of the concept plan, the Commission approved Sommers’ request of three variances for the property located on the south side of Center Street on the southeast corner of the intersection of Center and Cherry Avenue.

The first variance is to reduce the minimum rear parking setback from 10 feet to 6 feet. The adjacent parking lot exceeds the minimum side yard setback requirement and the reduction of parking setback will not have a major impact on the adjacent property.

The second variance reduces the minimum lot size required for a drive-thru from 1 acre to 0.6061 acres. The minimum lot size in the C-3 traditional commercial district for a drive-thru is typically 1 acre but there is no available property in the location at Center Street and Cherry Avenue that can be reasonably added.

The development is abnormal due to the fact that drive-thrus usually associated with fast food restaurants have larger dining rooms and require increased parking. The proposed Starbucks is only 2,213 square feet and requires only 23 parking spaces.

The third variance will reduce the minimum number of stacking spaces for a drive thru lane from six to two. This is measured from the order station and there will be eight total waiting spaces in the drive-thru. Starbucks has submitted information regarding the reduction in spaces and because of the nature of their custom drink orders, they would rather have more stacking from the pick-up window after the order station.

“Starbucks will add to the dining options of our residents and guests to our community,” said Community Development Administrator Steven Yaney. “The planning commission has been involved with the Sommer Development Group on various projects for approximately two years.”

The Planning Commission is expected hold a special meeting with Sommers on Dec. 7 to review and discuss proposed alternate layouts for the project.

The next planning commission meeting is Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

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