The North Canton Planning Commission will require a variance for a parking lot and put on hold plans for a new Starbucks.

NORTH CANTON St. Paul's Catholic Church will have to make alterations or obtain a variance before moving ahead with plans to significantly revamp its downtown parking lot.

The church has been working alongside the city, the North Canton Community Improvement Corporation and the Hoover Foundation to remodel a large parking lot between W. Maple Street and Harmon Street SW. The lot, which used to be a car dealership, runs behind a row of downtown businesses and is in poor condition. 

Wednesday, the church asked the North Canton Planning Commission to approve plans for the lot. 

The church planned to begin construction after Easter next month, said Ed Friedl, who represented St. Paul's at the meeting.

Plans include a decorative fence and ornamental light poles to illuminate entrances and exits. The lot would have 134 spaces and would be open to the public, Friedl said.

Commission member Jamie McCleaster pointed out that some parts of the plan didn't meet requirements. At issue: Landscape islands were about 8 1/2 feet wide, short of the 10 feet required by city ordinances, and the required setback from Harmon Street fell short by a few feet. 

Meeting those requirements would require losing about 20 parking spaces, Friedl said.

The lot does not have to meet a minimum number of spaces.

"I understand spaces will be lost, but if we have standards, we need to meet those standards," McCleaster said.

After some debate and with urging from Law Director Tim Fox, the commission approved the lot with the condition that plans be altered to meet requirements or the church obtains a variance from the Zoning and Building Standards Board of Appeals.

Commission Member Peter Volas voted against the need for alterations.

"I think this is an improvement," he said, adding that the commission needs to consider the scale of the project. "It's not a shopping center."

Friedl said the church, which has already spent a significant amount of money on the lot, will likely seek the variance.

Starbucks

The Commission agreed to table a vote on a conditional use permit for a new Starbucks at North Main Street and Applegrove Street NE, the site of a now-closed Huntington Bank.

Deville Developments' plans include tearing down a building next door and repurposing the bank building but with a larger drive-thru. The drive-thru would have room for 15 cars to "stack" or line up. 

Commission members took issue with the drive-thru allowing for both left and right turns onto Applegrove Street.

The distance between the drive-thru and the Main Street intersection is short, Volas said.

"Bank use and Starbucks use are dramatically different. And their hours are dramatically different," he said.

The Commission agreed to table voting on the conditional use permit until a more detailed site plan and information on traffic, including accidents at the intersection, was available.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com On Twitter: @jholbrookREP