GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) — Design proposals to build a Sheetz gas station and convenience store in Gahanna were voted down Wednesday night.
Members of the Gahanna Planning Commission rejected three applications that were under consideration, saying the proposals were not in the best interest of the community. Sheetz and its partners have 30 days to appeal the decision.
The proposed Sheetz location had been in the works since mid-2022, but had drawn the ire of some residents on social media in recent weeks.
On Jan. 26, the Gahanna Board of Zoning and Building Appeals reversed an earlier decision and greenlit the construction project of the eventual Sheetz, which would be located on a plot between Johnstown and Morse roads near Donatos Pizza and High Bank Distillery.
The city itself did not pursue the project, but Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin told members of the city council on Monday night that it is now in motion regardless.
“When a private property owner wants to develop a parcel of property, they have the right to do so as long as it is consistent in the matter in which that property is zoned,” Jadwin said at the meeting.
The parcel of land is zoned for neighborhood commercial use, which gas stations can fall under if they are cleared conditionally, Jadwin said.
The planning commission initially voted down a conditional use application for the property at a Nov. 2 meeting, a decision that developer Skilken Gold appealed in December and the zoning and building appeals board later overturned.
Nearby residents protesting the project have voiced concerns of safety, citing FBI statistics about how convenience store and gas stations are high on the list of likely locations for violent crime, and traffic.
The location of the project itself brings several jurisdictions into the fold that will likely eventually offer additional input, Jadwin said — including the city of Columbus, Gahanna, New Albany, and Franklin County. The Franklin County Engineer’s Office had already contacted Gahanna about reviewing a 2022 traffic survey of the nearby roundabout, she said.
Sheetz storefronts have quickly dotted the sides of more central Ohio roadways in the last four years. The chain’s first central Ohio location opened in 2019, and by January 2023, it boasted 21 locations and counting.
In an email statement, a spokesperson for Sheetz said the chain “strives to be the best neighbor we can be in every community we serve.”