A long-vacant commercial property in Chardon is targeted for redevelopment.
The city Planning Commission on Sept. 21 held an informal review of Rollin Cooke III’s preliminary concept plan for an auto sale business at 400 Water St.
Cooke sought feedback from the commission prior to hiring an engineer to finalize the drawings for formal use variance, architectural review and concept plan approval.
“Based on what was presented last night, it will be a huge improvement and I do like it,” Commission Chairman and Councilman Andrew K. Blackley said on Sept. 22. “Currently, the property is a derelict gas station, which has sat empty for years. The proposed plan will remove the fuel tanks, the gas station canopy, repave the parking lot, update the building and add a large amount of landscaping, including several park benches.
“Mr. Cooke is proposing to make a substantial reinvestment in his property, which I applaud.”
Some variances for sign location may be required, he said.
Cooke noted how cooperative city officials were in working with him on the concept.
His plan is to have his son, Rollin IV, run a used car lot with up to 30 vehicles onsite.
“I think that would be the most sensible use of the property, and my son’s been in the car business as long as I can remember,” Cooke said. Both live in Chardon.
Cooke’s Service Station closed on the site in 2009, when Cooke opened Cooke’s Complete Car Care on the former Ford dealership property at 500 Center St. He sold it three years ago.
The timeline to open the new business is late fall or early spring, depending on the time it takes to get approvals.
“(Monday’s) meeting was to see if it’s the right thing for me to do and move forward,” Cooke said.