Reuse plan for former Dayton grocery store site rejected by zoning board

Dayton BZA, Old North Dayton neighbors say ‘no’ to gas station-convenience store proposed for tornado-hit Grocerylane site

The owner of an Old North Dayton property that was home to a grocery store — before it was destroyed by the Memorial Day tornadoes in 2019 — has been denied permission to open a new fueling station and convenience store at the site.

The city of Dayton’s Board of Zoning Appeals rejected a conditional use request to operate a gas station at 1451 Troy St. after neighbors complained about the condition of the property and claimed the area already has an overabundance of truck stops.

“We do not feel that this site plan as submitted ... is harmonious to our neighborhood,” said Matt Tepper, president of the Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association.

A company called 1451 Troy Street Investment wanted to create a fueling station and convenience store at the former Grocerylane property, which was severely damaged by the tornados that tore through the area nearly four years ago.

The company proposed building a 4,500 square-foot store, with about 1,000 square feet to be leased to a complementary tenant.

The property, at the northwest corner of Troy and Stanley Avenue, is vacant but occasionally is used for semi-truck parking, said Jeff Green, city planner.

Dayton city staff said the property is zoned industrial, and nearby zoning districts are commercial or industrial. They recommended approval of the owner’s request, which did not require variances.

But the Northeast Priority Land Use Board voted 4 to 2 to recommend denial of the application, and city staff received multiple calls and emails from people opposed to the project.

Some neighbors said they do not believe a gas station is the appropriate use for the property, and they’d like to see another grocery store there.

“I would like to see something in the area, but this is not the way to go,” Rob Schultz wrote in a message to city staff.

The site has been purposefully neglected and has been a nuisance ever since the tornado, said Tepper, with the neighborhood association.

“Everything proposed to be offered in this site already is offered in the neighborhood, and in some cases, too much is being offered,” he said.

The project would create more truck traffic and could harm traffic circulation patterns, Tepper said. He also raised concern about alcohol sales at the property.

Larry Keith, the architect for the fueling station project, said his client planned to spend as much as $2.8 million to improve the property.

Randy Takhar, the owner, said he has tried to prevent trucks from parking at the property and he’s had to chase off someone who was selling cell phones without permission.

He said issues at the site would be resolved when the property is put back into productive use.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3 to 2 to deny the conditional use request.

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