Buc-ee’s says ‘full steam ahead’ on first Ohio store as Huber Heights gives OK

Huber Heights Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a detailed development plan for Ohio’s first Buc-ee’s store, set for construction in the city’s northeast quadrant.

“We’re excited to be part of Huber Heights and look forward to working with the community here,” said Buc-ee’s Director of Engineering Scott Ratcliff following Tuesday’s unanimous vote. “... (We’re now) full steam ahead on all development to get the project open and operational as soon as possible.”

To accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic volume associated with the proposed 74,000-square-foot store, engineers for Buc-ee’s worked with city officials and the Ohio Department of Transportation to determine necessary upgrades to nearby intersections and the Interstate 70/Ohio 235 interchange just southeast of the project site.

Much of Tuesday’s meeting was spent discussing the planned roadway changes. City Planner Aaron Sorrell responded to questions posed by some members of planning commission who wanted confirmation that the forecasted increase in traffic could be accommodated while maintaining safety for motorists.

Sorrell’s presentation included simulated traffic models, visual renderings, and speculative drawings as part of a 697-page report provided by the company, who worked in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the city of Huber Heights.

“Based on these improvements, city staff — both myself and the city engineer — and ODOT are comfortable that the traffic flow will be maintained and manageable during normal operating days,” Sorrell said, noting that there will be an inevitable learning curve immediately after Buc-ee’s opens, as traffic signal timing is adjusted as needed.

Full details of the planned interchange upgrades are available on the city’s website.

According to the plans, the Buc-ee’s store will have two access points from Ohio 235, one being at the CenterPoint 70 Boulevard intersection to the north and one at the Artz Road intersection to the south.

Traffic study conclusions recommend construction of a 270-foot northbound right-turn lane at the Artz Road/Buc-ee’s access intersection, which will be the store’s main entrance, and a 375-foot northbound right-turn lane at the CenterPoint 70 Boulevard/Buc-ee’s Boulevard intersection.

The store’s main entrance at Artz Road will be entrance-only and visitors will exit from the CenterPoint 70/Buc-ee’s Boulevard entrance.

Recommendations near the interchange include construction of a traffic signal intersection at the I-70 westbound to northbound Ohio 235 off-ramp (currently, traffic from the exit ramp merges into northbound Ohio 235 traffic with no light or stop). The proposal also would include an additional northbound thru-lane at this location.

An additional lane on the I-70 westbound exit ramp will also be constructed, among other changes to Ohio 235.

Two residents spoke during Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, including Deb Beismann, who spoke on behalf of her mother, Nancy Neff. The Neffs own farmland east of the Buc-ee’s site.

Beismann said her family is concerned about maintaining uninhibited access to the farm from Ohio 235, an issue that Sorrell affirmed would remain a priority throughout the continued planning and eventual construction of the store.

Changing Spaces advocate Jennifer Corcoran also spoke Tuesday to request that Buc-ee’s consider including an adult changing table as part of restroom plans. Corcoran made the same request when the company presented preliminary plans for the store last year.

However, Sorrell said Tuesday this addition is not currently part of the detailed development plans, though the amenity could still be added.

The Buc-ee’s chain has a bit of a cult following, according to Business Insider, which called Buc-ee’s “a mix of a Walmart, a barbecue-centric deli, and the Texas tourism bureau, plus a dash of the Cracker Barrel general store.”

Huber Heights residents Ruth Krepp and Pat Lokai said after the meeting that as longtime fans of Buc-ee’s, they were “ecstatic” to learn that Ohio’s first location would be coming to their city.

As many Buc-ee’s fans attest to, Krepp and Lokai said they love the store’s notoriously clean bathrooms, as well as their beef jerky, brisket, and home decor.

“Once you go, you’re hooked,” Lokai said.



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