The consensus seems to be that the new building proposed on the defunct Montrose auto sales lot in Mentor would be an improvement over existing conditions.

However, the Enterprise Rent-A-Car project needs some revisions if it’s to get through Mentor Planning Commission.

The commission recently tabled a conditional-use permit and preliminary site plan for the company to build a 1,422-square-foot rental office, and 2,464-square-foot detail and wash building on 2.38 acres at 8585 Mentor Ave.

The sticking point is the city’s design guidelines for the community’s historic corridor on Mentor Avenue, between Center Street and Jackson Street.

Project representative Tony Cerny indicated that he was unfamiliar with those guidelines.

“What we presented is essentially the image that Enterprise tries to use uniformly throughout northern Ohio,” he said.

When asked whether the design could be modified, Cerny said yes, in some respects, such as adding a pitched roof and altering building materials. He noted that a proposed canopy for the car drop-off area isn’t likely to change.

“This type of facility will run roughly 300 vehicles out of it, meaning that there will be roughly 50 onsite and the rest of them are out and leasing, so there’s a lot of traffic that comes in and out, so we want to keep the separation from the public and private area,” he said.

“Certainly it is a tremendous enhancement over what’s there now, and when we’ve put these buildings up, or at least this design up in the past, I think they are relatively attractive buildings.”

City officials noted other recent projects in the area that conform to the design guidelines, such as the Brunner office building.

“There’s a specific set of criteria (for) trying to be compatible with the design that has been established over time,” said Planning Administrator Kathy Mitchell, acknowledging the nonconforming properties that predate the guidelines.

Commission member Joseph Sidoti made a motion to hold off voting until a presentation can be made that is more in conformance with the guidelines.

“I think we would just be wasting our time if we went forward (tonight),” he said.

The conditional-use permit is required to allow leasing and vehicle servicing at the location. Enterprise intends to relocate its business at 6876 Center St., bordering the east side of the new City Market development.

“Long-term, they envision that this will continue to grow, and there is a large section of undeveloped property to the back that they eventually think will become used for additional storage of vehicles,” Cerny said.

Mentor Law Director Joseph Szeman requested more information about whether that parcel is integral to the project.

One neighbor, Mike Fraser of Maple Street, asked that a large black locust tree on his property line be left alone and that the proposed 8-foot-high, board-on-board fence have no gaps between the boards.

“Other than that, I know Enterprise, I’ve used Enterprise for years when I’ve rented cars, they’re a good company,” he said. “I’d like to see them in there.”

The proposed hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. The location would employ up to 10 full- and part-time workers.

The project is anticipated to be back before the commission Dec. 20, Mitchell said.



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