New auto parts store to be built near Walmart

By Joshua Keeran -

The city of Urbana is welcoming to town a fourth national automotive retail chain after the Urbana Planning Commission on Monday approved the final site plan for a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store.

The new 7,639-square-foot store will be built at the northwest corner of the East U.S. Route 36/Lippincott Lane intersection on a 1.511-acre vacant lot referred to as Subarea D of the Urbana Commons Planned Unit Development (PUD), which is most commonly known as the Walmart development.

Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said the final site plan for the O’Reilly Auto Parts store was submitted on behalf of the company by the architectural firm Esterly, Schneider & Associates.

Crabill said the group was “very good to work with,” and upon review by the city’s planning and zoning staff, the only issue left unaddressed in the firm’s final design plan for the property is a lack of perimeter landscaping around the parking lot to screen the parking areas facing U.S. Route 36 and Lippincott Lane from the right-of-way.

Planning Commission member Eric Samuelson agreed with city staff and suggested the firm add a shrub line to remain consistent with the other developed outlots in the PUD.

To make sure the issue is addressed prior to construction, the Planning Commission’s final site plan approval is contingent on the landscaping concern being addressed.

Tom Lundberg, a partner with Esterly, Schneider & Associates, flew in from Springfield, Missouri, to address any potential concerns over the design plan, and he assured the Planning Commission that putting in a line of shrubs around the parking lot would not be a problem.

In addition, Lundberg said the structure will be “much more upscale than a typical O’Reilly building.”

Changes proposed to Walmart outlot

Planning Commission members voted in favor of recommending to Urbana City Council that it pass an ordinance amending the zoning text associated with the Urbana Commons PUD Subarea C (outlot directly behind the O’Reilly Auto Parts property) Development Standards.

Zoning Officer Adam Moore said Subarea C was originally planned to be a Walmart fuel station, so the zoning text for the site is limited.

Instead of turning the outlot into a fuel station, Moore said, Walmart sold the 1.023-acre lot at a public auction in 2013 to a group of three investors: John Mallon, Justin Mallon and Ted Williams.

Having been unsuccessful in their attempts to develop the outlot, the trio submitted a zoning text amendment to the city in hopes the changes would aide in the development of the site, Moore said.

The proposed changes to the zoning text of Subarea C, which will be presented to City Council at a later date for possible passage, involve the creation of text for parking and landscaping guidelines, as well as additional language being added to several categories: architecture, signage, and circulation and access.

In other business:

•For the second time this year, the Planning Commission signed off on planned improvements to the Wendy’s restaurant located at 734 Scioto St.

On Monday, the group approved a request by Custom Sign Center Inc. to reface four signs (pole sign, drive-thru sign, and two directional signs) and install five new signs (push-through sign, “Thank You” sign, and three wall signs) on the property.

In order for the zoning permits to be issued for the approved signs, the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals must first approve variances for the signage, Crabill said.

Back in January, the Planning Commission approved a request by the owner of the restaurant to “refresh” the building’s facade through various alterations to the outside of the structure.

By Joshua Keeran

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.