The Chardon Planning Commission last week looked at plans for upgrades in two businesses as well as the installation of more sidewalks in the city.

Buckeye Chocolates is looking to expand its café in Chardon and the commission approved a plan and architectural review submitted by Leon Sampat of LS Architects for a 753-square-foot addition.

Community Development Administrator Steven Yaney said during the Aug. 17 meeting that this was the first of a two-part expansion plan.

The initial improvements will include a small addition to the rear of the building to expand the kitchen, coolers and freezers.

“They have also purchased the property to the rear of them that comes out on Cherry Avenue,” he said. The second part of the plan calls for expanding the parking lot early next year to the adjacent lot where Napa Auto is located, Mr. Yaney said.The project will include upgrading the drive-thru facility and “modernizing it allowing for expanded capacity and more efficient use.”

Buckeye Chocolate Café at 510 Water St. opened in Chardon in 2014 offering chocolates, gift baskets, an espresso and coffee bar as well as food.

In other business, the City of Chardon requested concept plan approval for infill sidewalks along Fifth Avenue and Washington Street.

The improvements include new sidewalk installation on the south side of the road along Fifth Avenue.

“We did a sidewalk connectivity analysis back in 2016 and they ranked the sidewalk sections that were missing and then they’re just going down the list of sections that need to be filled in as we have money in the sidewalk fund,” said Mr. Yaney. “This is just where we’re at on the list of sections that need filled in.”

Mr. Yaney stated that the installation will make the city’s sidewalk network more complete. “It connects the commercial corridor to the homes on the north section of town and where there’s a gap in the sidewalk currently,” said Mr. Yaney. “City Council has been striving to get sidewalks, at least on one side of the street in all areas so this is just another section of trying to connect the residential pieces with the commercial pieces with our schools and our churches.”

The sidewalk installation is expected to be sometime in the fall of 2021, according to Mr. Yaney.

Planning commission members also reviewed Hidden Glen Associates’ request for an extension to its concept plan approval for the Hidden Glen Subdivision which is set to expire on Aug. 17. Commission members granted the extension to 2025.

Mr. Yaney stated that Planning Commission has done this in years past in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017.

“Basically, what it does is extend another four years out the ability for Hidden Glen Associates to finish the last two phases of Hidden Glen,” said Mr. Yaney. “For various reasons this project has taken significantly longer, I believe it was originally approved back in the mid-90s and it’s been ongoing ever since.”

Also approved by commission members was a plan to renovate the former Carter Lumber Building presented by Ben Gingrich of HSB Architects on behalf of Ag-Pro Real Estate Investments II LLC.

Mr. Yaney stated that the building will be renovated into an Ag Pro, John Deere type of dealership with other companies being involved as well.

“Anybody who’s been on the property is aware there’s a significant amount of asphalt on this property so there’s plenty of space to add parking spaces,” said Mr. Yaney. “There will be additional landscaping,” he said, “and they will be making cosmetic renovations to the building.”

The improvements include exterior renovations to the front building, landscaping and outdoor sales display areas for the property located at 467 Center St.

Mr. Gingrich appeared before the planning commission to discuss the request. “We are working on this building here to try to make some more improvements to the front façade to really make it look like a nice AG-Pro facility,” said Mr. Gingrich. “We are taking the existing entrance and adding some nice materiality.”

Mr. Gingrich also stated they would be adding some stack stone on the front of the building to get a little accent out there and some different materials to liven up the façade.

“We’re adding new windows on the front building which is going to be a nice addition as well,” said Mr. Gingrich. “The display areas are brand new tractors and equipment, we’re having them way back off the street and we have all kinds of landscape against Center Street which I think is a really nice feature.”

Mr. Gingrich said plans call for painting the front of the building with a color to match the existing building.

“With the existing storefronts, they’re going to match dark bronze which is what we have now,” said Mr. Gingrich. “We’ve got a fascia up on top that is just going to be a brown color which is just a nice accent.”

The meeting was held at the Chardon Municipal Court building at 111 Water St., Chardon. The next Planning Commission meeting is Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

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