Judge throws out bid to block new Menards complex near Montrose

The Menards store on Graham Road in Cuyahoga Falls, one of three oeprating in the Akron-Canton area, will be joined by a fourth once a store planned for Granger Township in Medina County is constructed.
The Menards store on Graham Road in Cuyahoga Falls, one of three oeprating in the Akron-Canton area, will be joined by a fourth once a store planned for Granger Township in Medina County is constructed.

A Medina County judge has thrown out a citizen group's lawsuit seeking to block construction of a new retail complex in the southeast corner of Granger Township, removing a hurdle for developer Menard Inc.

A Menards home improvement store is set to anchor The Market at Medina Line at a 125-acre site along state Route 18, just a mile west of the Montrose commercial district in Summit County. Granger Township Trustees approved the first phase of the plan in April, Fiscal Officer Donald L. Baker said.

About a month later, Citizens Action Group, which formed in opposition to the development when it was proposed in 2019, filed its civil suit, asserting that the planned complex "fails to meet the township's zoning resolution."

In a statement on its website, the group says it opposes the project because of "the filling of wetland, destruction of rural farmland, increased flooding to neighborhood homes, decreased property values," and other reasons.

Opponents cite zoning questions

In an April 6 letter addressed from Citizens Action Group and Andrew J. Karas, an attorney with Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services and the legal representative for Citizens Action Group, to Granger Township officials, the group said the planned building height, outdoor uses and roof lines would violate township zoning ordinances.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Joyce V. Kimbler, however, ruled late last month that the nonprofit group does not have legal standing to challenge the project under the section of the revised code that it had cited in its suit.

More: New Menards off state Route 18 gets go-ahead as part of Granger Township retail site

"The right to appeal is conferred only upon the person so affected," Kimbler wrote in her Nov. 24 decision. "There is no provision by statute, or otherwise, whereby another may file the appeal in a representative capacity on behalf of the person who is affected."

Karas said his clients are reviewing the ruling before deciding on their next course of action.

Path still unclear for start of construction

While the judge's decision removes a legal obstacle for Menards, the path to construction remains murky.

Jeff Abbott, a spokesperson for Menard Inc., said representatives for the company had no comment on the civil case and no timetable for when construction will begin.

Granger Township Trustees also declined to comment on the progress of the project.

In an April interview with the Beacon Journal, Township Trustee Richard Pace discussed details of the project.

The development is in Granger Township's planned development district, which was set up in the mid-2000s. Township residents at that time wanted public officials to improve the township tax base by leveraging state Route 18; the planned development district accomplished that, Pace said.

Menards would become the third big home improvement chain to set up in the vicinity, competing with Home Depot and Lowe's just across the county line in Montrose. It would become the fourth Menards to open in the Akron-Canton area, with stores operating in Cuyahoga Falls, Brimfield and Massillon.

Plans filed with the township and county show a 157,000-square-foot Menards store, a 38,000-square-foot warehouse area, a garden center and more on a nearly 23-acre parcel inside the 125-acre site.

Entry and exit to the development will be via a single light/signal indicator off of Route 18. Pinnacle Sports, which borders the property to the west, also will make use of the signal. Medina Line Road on the other side of the development will not be used for vehicle access.

Public officials have estimated the built-out cost and value of the development at $40 million, About half of the site will remain open space as part of an agreement with the developer, Pace said.

Beacon Journal staff writer Jim Mackinnon contributed to this report. April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Judge squashes suit seeking to block Menards complex in Granger Twp.