“We have a very narrow scope that we’re working with here,” Commissioner Carol Fischer told Sheetz representatives Monday night. “In my opinion — with what we have to work from — you don’t fit” within the city’s guidelines.
The commission’s vote followed about an hour-long public hearing during which supporters of the proposal said it would bring jobs, tax dollars and better food options to a currently unused property.
Sheetz wants to build a 6,139 square-foot store, according to Kettering records. It would have a drive-through, five double-sided fuel pumps and six electric vehicle charging stations included in 44 parking spaces.
The land is at the southeast corner of Dorothy and South Dixie Drive. It sits across Dorothy from the shuttered Golden Nugget Pancake House and across Dixie from a small BP gas station.
Sheetz started as a food business and fresh products are delivered daily, said Kareem Amr, project manager for Skilken Gold, which represents the business.
“That’s really what their DNA is all about,” he said. “We find that people come to Sheetz and are fans of Sheetz because the food tastes good.”
Amr said Sheetz is a family-owned business that does not franchise. He said Sheetz would not create more traffic, but it “just tries tapping into existing traffic.”
But Kettering city staff recommended denial of the proposal. Converting the site from an economic overlay district to a business district is not part of Kettering’s comprehensive plan. City planner Ryan Homsi said that was the “main issue” with the proposal.
Kettering determined the 1.64-acre site — the former location of a PNC Bank — to be among its “critical redevelopment areas,” best suited for business park and professional office use, Homsi added.
There are also “several” fueling stations in the vicinity with no shortage of convenience stores and drive through restaurants nearby, Homsi said. Traffic access from “Dorothy, if permitted at all,” will be “limited,” he said.
Kettering City Council will hold a public hearing on the recommendation and could approve or reject Sheetz’s proposal in a process expected to take several weeks, Homsi said.
Sheetz last month opened its first Dayton-area gas station / convenience store in Huber Heights. The Altoona, Pa.-based business announced last year it planned to open 20 new stores in this area. It also has submitted plans in Centerville and Fairborn.
Sheetz now operates 680-plus store locations across Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland, with all locations open 24/7, 365 days a year. The company touts its specialty drinks and “made-to-order” sandwiches and salads, ordered through touch-screen order point terminals.