Actions taken at the most recent meeting of the Sylvania Township Board of Zoning Appeals have apparently cleared the way for the construction of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and McCord Road.
The building will replace the vacant former Walgreen's Pharmacy, which will be razed.
The company sought three separate variances from the township's zoning code. One request was to eliminate a required 15 ft. landscape strip along Zone Avenue,which borders the property on the east. The board denied that variance, but reduced the requirement to 5 ft. The board approved a request for the current front setback of 22.5 ft. to be 20 ft,
The board approved a setback of 102 ft. from Central from the requirement of 120 ft. The company had sought a reduction to 95 ft.
The township zoning office had recommended against granting the variances. The report noted that the site had held a retail pharmacy which was 14,466 sq. ft., and that the restaurant is planned to be 4,730 sq. ft. The 2.3 acre site already had variances which had been sought by Walgreen's.
Gary Rouse, of GBC Design, Akron, acknowledged that the size of the site made it seem easy to fit a restaurant in. He told the board that he was at first pleased when he heard its size, but then realized it was an L shape and that the three northernmost parcels on Zone would not be used. He said the variances requested were needed for general parking, ADA parking spaces and a double-drive thru lane.
Sidewalk Regulation Eased
Sylvania Township trustees have passed a resolution relaxing a requirement of a 1996 resolution which demanded sidewalks be included in any development or redevelopment in Sylvania Township.
The newly-passed resolution allows for exceptions if properties adjacent to the one seeking the exception do not have sidewalks, if the property is not to be used for residential, public, or quasi-public uses, and if public access will be limited to sides which do have sidewalks. The property must also adjoin two or more highways, streets or roads.
The issue was raised recently at a trustees' meeting when a representative of Yark objected to the requirement which would have forced the dealership to put in a sidewalk on Trotter, behind a building, for a BMW dealership at 7600 West Central Ave.
Jerry Parker, an attorney representing Yark, told trustees that the business objected to being forced to put a sidewalk on Trotter which he said would be a "sidewalk to nowhere."
Mr. Parker noted the business would be directed toward Central and would not generate pedestrian traffic to Trotter. He also noted there are no adjoining sidewalks to connect to.
Under the new resolution, if an adjacent property later installs a sidewalk the exception is revoked and a sidewalk must be constructed within 180 days.
The Sylvania Township police department will begin what it hopes will become a series of events known as "Coffee With A Cop."
The first will be at Charlie's Restaurant, 6945 West Central Ave., Aug. 18 from 8 to 10 a.m.
Deputy Chief Ray Carroll said he does not intend for there to be any formal presentation for the event, but hopes many township residents will attend will attend and share their attitudes about the department.
"If they have general questions or specific concerns, we want to hear them," he said.
The idea of establishing an honor guard was shepherded through by Deputy Police Chief Ray Carroll who said he thought that when there is an appropriate occasion, the department should have a unit which, when called upon, could represent Sylvania Township in a dignified way.
Last year he sent two officers to an honor guard school in Goshen, Indiana, to come back with information on how to form an honor guard, the duties and requirements of honor guards, and other information to share with the members.
The six members, Chief Carroll said, "are all volunteers. They're all dedicated to representing the police department and the township with proper decorum."
Honor guards are called on often for duty at funerals of deceased officers. Those appearances are not limited to tragic deaths in the line of duty, but more often involve deaths by natural causes and often after the person has retired.
The team was sent to an honor guard academy in Alpena, Michigan, to hone their skills and they continue to practice. Chief Carroll said the American Legion Post on Centennial Road has allowed the group to practice "either inside or outside, whatever they need. They've been very helpful."
Continuing practice is important.
"One member just a little out of step with the others is magnified when everyone else is precisely on time, so continuing to practice together is important," he added.
Putting a team together has required numerous decisions.
"What kind of belt? What kind of shoes, collar brass? All kinds of little things. But you want to get it right," he said.
The chief said it had been hoped that the honor guard would make its initial appearance at the community's Memorial Day parade, "but the uniforms came in too late."
He noted that the parade is an example of the type of civic event the honor guard hopes to take
part in in the future.
Speedy's bark may not be worse than his bite, but it recently proved to be bad enough.
The Sylvania Township police canine was recently called to assist at the scene of a burglary in progress on McCord Road by Lucas County Sheriff's deputies who were on the site, but who could not coax the burglars from the residence.
Sylvania Township officer Patrick Charest, Speedy's handler, said he was shown where a rear window had been broken and one of the deputies told him that he had seen two suspects in the structure.
The officers let the suspects know that they were going to open the rear door and let the dog go in. Officer Charest allowed Speedy to begin barking. While Speedy was barking, other officers were working to open the rear door.
Word came unexpectedly that the burglars were coming out peacefully. In what could be considered high irony, the suspects had called 911. Officer Charest said the female suspect told him they didn't know what else to do but call 911 after they became fearful that Speedy was going to be sent in.
Police Chief Robert Boehme said it was close to a perfect ending for what was a potentially very serious situation.
"In a case like that if officers are going in, they don't know what to expect. You might find two very meek suspects or you could find desperate, heavily-armed criminals."
In this case, Speedy created a situation where no one was injured and the suspects were arrested without further incident, he said.