Sheetz sues Centerville, seeks reversal of decision to nix store on Far Hills

Centerville’s Planning Commission had approved store at Elsa’s site, but City Council reversed it after complaints from neighboring church, retirement community, others

Gas station and convenience store chain Sheetz, developer Skilken Gold and the owner of the Elsa’s Mexican Restaurant property are suing the city of Centerville via an administrative appeal.

The appeal, filed Tuesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, comes four weeks after Centerville City Council voted unanimously to reject Sheetz’s plans for the 6318 Far Hills Ave. site, just north of I-675.

The city of Centerville’s Planning Commission had approved a major site plan in August that would have allowed Sheetz to construct the 6,139-square-foot store on a site where Elsa’s currently operates.

The City Council reversal followed of an appeal made by representatives of nearby retirement community Bethany Lutheran Village, Epiphany Lutheran Church and Centerville resident Regis Lekan, each of whom filed separate appeals last month to block the business from building on the site.

In the lawsuit, Sheetz and the other parties say that Centerville “incorrectly reversed” the planning commission’s approval.

“That decision was unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, an abuse of discretion, and/or unsupported by the preponderance of substantial, reliable, and probative evidence on the whole record,” they said in the court documents filed in the case.

The lawsuit also appeals city council’s decision and files an order requesting the city of Centerville provide the court “a complete transcript of all the original papers, testimony, and evidence offered, heard, and taken into consideration in issuing the relevant final order, adjudication, or decision.”

It also requests that the court “reverse, vacate, and modify” Centerville’s decision and/or send the case back to Centerville with instructions to issue orders, rulings or decisions that are in favor of the appellants on all the issues appealed in the case.

Asked for comment on Wednesday, City Manager Wayne Davis said Centerville’s primary goal is to “secure the continued safety and quality of life” for its residents, businesses and institutions.

“As we navigate through this legal process, city council and staff remain committed to upholding our values of integrity and accountability and making decisions that contribute to the well-being of our community,” Davis said.

On Wednesday, this news outlet also reached out to the attorneys for Sheetz and others who filed the court appeal, seeking comment on the new development, but they did not immediately respond.

Epiphany Lutheran Church, which is not being sued, said its leadership is “grateful for the Centerville City Council’s thorough review of community input and their thoughtful decision in the appeal of the Planning Commission’s recommendation.”

“Epiphany will support the Centerville City Council in their opposition to a Sheetz development at this site and will continue to offer strong resistance to this development or others that jeopardize our ministries and residential neighbors of the surrounding community,” the church said in a statement issued Wednesday.

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