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Broadview Heights developer sues Strongsville over rejection of Circle K plan

January 15, 2019

Broadview Heights developer sues Strongsville over rejection of Circle K plan

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – A Broadview Heights developer has followed through on a threat to sue the city for not allowing a Circle K gas station and convenience store at the southwest corner of Royalton Road and West 130th Street.

Petros Development Corp. says City Council’s rejection of a proposed rezoning that would have made the Circle K possible is equivalent to seizing the developer’s land, according to a lawsuit filed Dec. 28 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit asks the court to rezone the land for Petros if the city fails to do so.

″(The existing) local-business zoning classification (at Royalton and West 130th) is unreasonable and destroys the Petros’ property value to such an extent that it is a total and/or partial regulatory taking of Petros’ interest in the property, without due process of law and without just and reasonable compensation,” the lawsuit says.

Strongsville Law Director Neal Jamison said he had no comment.

On Jan. 7, council hired David Matty and his Cleveland law firm, Matty, Henrikson & Greve LLC, to represent the city in the lawsuit. Matty is law director in Brecksville.

In a Jan. 7 letter to the city of Strongsville, Matty said his firm will charge $180 an hour, billed monthly. Jamison, in an email to cleveland.com, said the city has not established a monetary cap for Matty’s services.

Greg Modic, a Petros representative, told cleveland.com Monday that he doesn’t understand how council could have voted against the rezoning – which would have switched the southwest corner of 82-West 130th from a local-business district, where gas stations are prohibited, to a motor-service district, where gas stations are permitted – when automobile-service businesses already exist across the street.

Mike’s Automotive Repair and U-Haul is on the northwest corner of 82-West 130th and an automobile-service business is on the southeast corner.

“And it’s really frustrating the lack of public discussion about this with us (Petros) and even more so with residents,” Modic told cleveland.com. “It’s frustrating when we have to go the route of a lawsuit to get some discussion.”

Council voted 6-0 against the rezoning without comment during an October council meeting. And according to emails the city provided at the request of cleveland.com, council members didn’t respond to any emails sent by residents expressing both support and opposition to the proposed rezoning.

In October, Modic said the rezoning was justified because Petros Family LP has owned and paid taxes on the 1.5-acre corner lot for 20 years. During that time, only gas stations and/or convenience stores have expressed interest in building there.

In its lawsuit, Petros says council’s refusal to rezone the southwest corner of 82-West 130th prevents the developer from using the property, which is equivalent to the city taking the land from Petros.

The lawsuit says the city’s zoning code, and the city’s taking of the developer’s land, violates the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

“The Ohio and Federal constitutions ensure that no citizen can be subject to intentional and arbitrary discrimination by Ohio or any political subdivision of Ohio,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says Petros was discriminated against because gas stations and similar uses are allowed on other corners at 82-West 130th.

The lawsuit also says the city owes Petros money for taking its property. A jury would determine the amount during trial.

Other points Petros raised in the lawsuit include:

“Significant demand exists for gasoline service along state Route 82, east of Interstate 71 (where the Petros property is located).”“The zoning of the other three corners of this intersection (82-West 130th) permit gasoline fueling.”“Under (Strongsville code), motorist-service districts are to be located in proximity to the intersections of major arterial streets (like 82-West 130th) and freeway exchanges.”″(The) Strongsville Planning Commission recommended the rezoning of the Petros property to motorist service on July 12, 2018.”

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