A Tim Hortons coffee shop, unique to Ohio and the nation, may land in the city of Chardon if a traffic study provides the answers city officials are looking for.

Representatives of the Tim Hortons appeared before the Chardon Planning Commission Monday to begin discussions of building a drive-thru only business on a vacant lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of Water Street (Route 6), Wilson Mills Road and Cherry Street.

Jason Fenton, with TH Cleveland, presented the commission with the plans for the 600-square-foot building, which requires the approval of seven variances. Those variances include reducing the minimum lot area from 20,000 to 15,240 square feet, reducing the setback for rear parking, reducing the minimum lot size for a drive-thru, increasing the maximum width of driveways, reducing the setback for trash receptacles, reducing the number of stacking spaces for drive-thru and reducing the minimum driveway separation from an existing driveway.

Mr. Fenton said the Tim Hortons drive-thru is a first for Ohio and the nation. He said they want to proceed this construction season.

“We’re trying to get this project done the right way,” Mr. Fenton said.

But, Steve Yaney, city economic development administrator, said a traffic impact study should be the first order of business, given the problems with traffic backups already at the intersection. He said those backups can prove to cause “significant traffic issues in the rest of the city.”

Attorney David Matty, who accompanied Mr. Fenton to the meeting, said his client would like direction on the extent of the traffic study that the city is seeking.

Douglas Courtney, city engineer, said the study should look at traffic patterns along Cherry Street, from the intersection north to Center Street (Route 44). It should also look at traffic along Water Street from the intersection east to Washington Street.

He said Tim Hortons should also provide estimates for traffic through the business during the weekdays and weekends.

The business is planning for entrances and exits along Cherry Street and Water Street.

Councilman Andrew Blackley, who serves on the planning commission, said he wanted to see the proximity of the Tim Hortons driveways to existing driveways as well and lane markings on Cherry Street.

Dale Markowitz, an attorney representing the McDonald’s Restaurant next to the site proposed for Tim Hortons, asked that he receive a copy of the completed traffic study as well as being apprised of the next meeting on Tim Hortons requests.

Joseph Koziol Jr. started his career in journalism in 1981. He joined the Solon Times in 1992 and covered the city of Solon for 10 years. An award winning reporter, Mr. Koziol has been covering Geauga County since 2012.

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