City council’s next work session is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, followed by a regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 25.
If council votes to approve the preliminary plans, the developer will then begin to draft a detailed development plan, which would also go before the planning commission, with council subsequently having the final say.
Preliminary site drawings submitted to the city include plans for 120 gas pumps and more than 700 parking spaces on a nearly 53-acre site, which is situated at the northeast corner of the I- 70/Ohio 235 interchange, across from the CenterPoint 70 Business Park.
Representatives for Buc-ee’s attended Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, fielding a few questions from commission members, most of which centered around traffic.
The company’s officials said they’re working closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation on completing potential road improvements near the site to accommodate the anticipated significant increase in daily traffic to and from the store.
“It’s certainly important to us because if the traffic doesn’t work here, people are going to go elsewhere — good brisket and jerky only go so far,” said Andy Shaw of engineering firm Kimley-Horn.
Plans show access to the store will be via one right-in/right-out drive at the Ohio 235 and Artz Road intersection, and one full-access drive at the Ohio 235 and CenterPoint 70 Boulevard intersection.
A divided median is proposed along Ohio 235 to incorporate a proposed traffic lane dedicated to drivers turning into Buc-ee’s and a bypass lane for those who aren’t, according to Huber Heights city planner Aaron Sorrell.
Sorrell said the store, which has a strong cult following, could increase peak hour traffic in the area by an estimated 1,000 trips in the morning and 1,000 trips in the evening.
“I’ve said in the past that convenience stores don’t generate a lot of traffic; well, this is different. It’s a destination people travel out of their way to go to,” he said.
The project area’s layout is influenced by two “minor site constraints,” planning commission documents show, including there being a 15-inch sanitary sewer line bisecting the site and running east toward the Clark County treatment plant.
Documents state the city plans to accommodate the massive convenience store by extending a new sanitary sewer line south to connect to the city of Fairborn’s treatment plant.
This extension is part of a services agreement between the city cities enacted in 2022 to expand wastewater collection and treatment service for businesses and residents on Huber Heights’ east side to Fairborn’s water treatment facility.
Once the Fairborn connection is made, the 15-inch line bisecting the site will be abandoned, documents show.
This services agreement with Fairborn prompted Clark County Commissioners to file a court complaint for declaratory judgment against the city of Huber Heights, claiming the latter’s wastewater treatment services contract with Fairborn may violate a similar set of contracts between Clark County and Huber Heights.
The longstanding set of water and sewer services contracts between Clark County and Huber Heights grant the city access to Clark County’s Southwest Sewage Treatment Plant System near the Park Layne lift station, and connection to the county’s water supply system near the intersection of Hocker Avenue and Ohio 235.
The complaint was filed in the civil division of Clark County Common Pleas Court on July 24, and claims the city of Huber Heights may be contractually obligated to continue using water treatment services from Clark County.
The second minor constraint outlined in planning documents is that of a Miami Conservancy District storage basin easement, a part of MCD’s flood protection system, on the southern end of the proposed Buc-ee’s site.
The project developer must obtain a temporary or permanent basin permit prior to construction.
Tuesday’s planning commission packet also included a letter from a resident who shared his concerns about the proposed project.
“I think Buc-ee’s is great for Huber, (but) I don’t think it should be out near our trucking businesses,” said Steve Zbinden. “Maybe Buc-ee’s could do a land swap with FedEx Freight and build on Executive (Boulevard); people could grab some food at Buc-ee’s before they catch a show at the Rose.”
Resident Fran Thaman spoke during Tuesday’s public comment segment.
“I’ve watched Huber Heights grow, expand, and bring in new business; even though we’ve had our growing pains, I am very proud and happy,” Thaman said, adding that she’s a fan of Buc-ee’s but is concerned about an increase in interstate traffic.
Thaman said she’d hoped Buc-ee’s would be more easily accessible to local Huber Heights residents.
Planning Commission Chair Terry Walton noted residents could have a “back door access route” to and from Buc-ee’s, bypassing the freeway altogether, via CenterPoint 70 Boulevard, which connects to Bellefontaine Road via Artz Road.