A Sheetz gas station and O'Charley's restaurant got one step closer to taking shape at the corner of Whitney and Pearl roads Thursday night when the Planning Commission recommended in favor of rezoning two parcels.
The commission voted 7-0 in favor of rezoning one parcel to Motor Services and the other to Restaurant-Restaurant Services.
"It's a long time coming," Mayor Tom Perciak said.
The corner of Whitney and Pearl has been tied up in foreclosure and legal action for years after two previous developers ran into financial trouble and abandoned their projects.
Brad McLean, senior development manager for WXZ, said the restaurant and gas station are the only firm projects on the land so far.
"Right now, there aren't any prospects on the balance of the site," McLean said. "Once we start developing, we think we're going to see some interest."
Bruce Rinker, attorney representing Sheetz, said Thursday's action is one in a series of steps that could see construction starting in about a year.
The rezonings must now go to City Council. Developers would then present detailed site plans, which must also be approved by the Planning Commission.
The Sheetz proposal generated some controversy from residents when it was first presented in January, but there has been little public opposition since then.
Assistant Law Director Dan Kolick said the developers have "addressed all the issues" the city administration had about the layout of the businesses.
And Ward 4 Councilman Scott Maloney said he has spoken individually to all the other council members.
"Nobody's really had any reservations," he said.
How Traffic Would Be Handled
Plans show customers getting to O'Charley's via the existing Broxton Road -- the street that runs from Pearl to Lowe's -- and a new access road that would be built off Whitney Road and run behind the new businesses, connecting with Broxton.
Sheetz would also be accessed by another right-turn-in-only lane off Whitney, and by a driveway off Pearl Road.
Both northbound and southbound Pearl Road traffic would be allowed to turn into Sheetz, and a deceleration lane would be added in front of the business for vehicles turning right.
Leaving the business onto Pearl, traffic would be allowed to turn right -- northbound -- only.
City Council will have the final vote on the rezonings, but it would take more than a simple majority vote to override a Planning Commission recommendation.