Rezoning request declined

By Alexandra Newman -

ANNA — A convenience store will not be added to the property of 102 and 104 S. Pike St. in Anna after an Anna Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday night.

The planning commission voted to not recommend the rezoning to the Anna Village Council after an hour of comments and questions from interested village residents.

Notices of the meeting were sent out to the 46 properties within a 200 foot radius around the property, which currently sits the home of Julie and Kurt Ehemann.

Julie explained at the meeting Tuesday night they will soon be moving, and a convenience store chain, Casey’s General Stores Inc., based in Ankeny, Iowa, made an offer to purchase their property.

The meeting Tuesday drew an approximately 60 people who did not shy away from sharing their opinions on the future of the property.

Residents shared their concerns about the traffic the store would create at that intersection, the light and sound pollution it would cause, the safety of the children walking to and from school, the drainage issues already being experienced in town, among other things.

The first step was to request the rezoning of that property. Casey’s submitted the request for the rezoning from Residential 2 to Commercial 2, including the $60 filing fee. Then it was up to the planning commission to hear the public’s opinion and vote to present it to council or not.

“This would employ people, allow Anna’s village and school to gain income tax and property tax, and increase revenue in Anna,” Julie said. “Another opportunity would be to finally open the intersection to allow for better sight vision and traffic flow. To allow the property to be commercial would allow Anna to start to have a real commercial district and start to connect the small commercial lots that are throughout the community.”

She said their intent is not to get what they can and leave the community behind, they are sensitive to concerns, but feel it would be a good change for the village.

“As I see development happening in the communities surrounding us, I believe it is refreshing to see an American company take notice of Anna and consider coming to the community,” Julie said.

Matthias Smith, real estate and store development associate for Casey’s General Stores, answered the questions he could about the plans Casey’s has for that property.

He shared how their store would employ about 15 to 20 people, bring in anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million a year, and be open from approximately 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Casey’s is not currently seeking any tax abatement’s for coming into Anna, and had detailed plans on how the lighting of the store would effect the surrounding houses. Casey’s has no evidence from other stores to support that there will be any change to property values.

“(Casey’s) focuses on towns of less than 5,000 people. … We didn’t pick out this location just because it was a high traffic intersection, but it’s also the heart of town and pretty easy to walk there,” Smith said.

He explained how Casey’s likes to give back to the community by giving back to the schools and sports. He shared an example of when they helped a family immediately after a house fire.

“It in turn helps us grow and helps the community grow. That’s why we picked Anna as one of our first sites in Ohio,” Smith said.

A Casey’s General Store is currently being built at the former site of VogelSang’s in Fort Loramie, but no other possible locations can be revealed due to contract negotiations.

As a result of the planning commission voting not to take this rezoning request to the council, the Ehemann lot at 102 and 104 S. Pike St. will not be turned into a commercial lot for the purpose of adding a Casey’s Convenience store. If Casey’s were to come to Anna they would have to move into an already commercial zoned lot or request the rezoning of a different property and the same process would happen again.

By Alexandra Newman

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews