Council voted unanimously to rezone land at the corner of Pearl and Whitney roads for the new restaurant, and 6-1 in favor of rezoning another parcel for Sheetz.
"Despite a lot of fears, there will not be adverse impacts" on things like traffic, said Bruce Rinker, attorney for the developers.
A number of residents have objected to Sheetz, saying the gas station and car wash will add to traffic problems on Pearl and Whitney. Others said a gas station is not consistent with the original plans -- and their hopes -- for that corner.
At least one city official agrees. Councilman at large Joe DeMio voted against the Sheetz rezoning, saying the new plan is "a step down" from what was initially envisioned there.
"The original concept that was laid out there is what I'd like to see," DeMio said. "I think it was the way to go."
Residents were initially promised a major retail project, to be called Renaissance Park, that would include a grocery store and a mix of other retail and restaurants by original developer David Lewanski, who in late 2005 said he had commitments from Lowe's, Bed Bath & Beyond and Circuit City to locate there.
The concept was a smaller version of a development like Crocker Park.
Lewanski ran into financial trouble, as did his successor, the Toledo-based Timberstone development group, which also abandoned the project when it ran into financial obstacles in 2009.
Rinker said traffic studies show that Sheetz would capture passing traffic, but would not add to the number of vehicles at the corner.
He also said the Sheetz and O'Charley's would "lay the foundation for future development in that area," with another 110,000 square feet of retail stores expected there.
The Nashville, TN-based O'Charley's chain is seeking to construct a 6,400-square-foot eatery that would seat about 200 on the other side of the access road from GFS.
O'Charley's operates more than 230 restaurants in the United States, including one in Cuyahoga Falls. There are also O'Charley's restaurants in Canal Winchester (just outside Columbus), Boardman, Niles and Cincinnati.
Sheetz would go at the corner of Whitney and Pearl. Another Sheetz already operates on Prospect and Royalton roads.