Thursday, April 20, 2000

Construction work spurs complaints

Residents gripe: noisy, ugly

BY Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONTGOMERY — Work to expand the Kroger store in Montgomery Square has generated complaints from residents, other businesses and the city.

        Among the complaints:

        ćA tower built in the expanded part of the store is too tall and ugly, they said.

        ćNoise from air conditioning and heating units being installed disturbs the residents on Tollgate Lane behind the store.

        “This is a big joke,” said Jay Kastan of 10019 Tollgate Lane. “When the air conditioning and heating units are turned on, they sound like a jet propelled airplane. I heard the noise all weekend.”

        Tollgate Lane is a short street that runs close to the Kroger loading dock in the rear of the store. The street is lined with small trees and well-kept lawns, surrounding upper-middle-class houses.

        Little traffic moves on the street and the noise coming from the air conditioning and heating units along with the Kroger trucks on the loading dock disturbs the tranquillity of the street, Mr. Kastan said.

        “There are times when those trucks come in around 2 a.m.,” he said.

        Mr. Kastan points out that a wall behind the loading dock is not tall enough to block out the noise.

        Don Hubbard of 9985 Tollgate Lane said the humming sound of the units keeps him awake at night.

        “It is rough, but I have tried to get through it,” Mr. Hubbard said.

        “They put up a plywood barrier to muffle the sound after we complained. It seems to have helped a little, but it is still annoying.”

        Mr. Hubbard said residents of the street were told there would not be any loud noises coming from the loading dock or the utility units.

        Also, residents said the tower was completely out of character with the rest of the buildings in the square.

        “From the back where I live, we could see it. It just didn't fit in with the rest of the buildings,” Mr. Kastan said.

        The 45-foot tower was not only ugly, said Frank Davis, community development director, but was not a part of the construction plans Kroger gave city hall.

        “The plans Kroger gave to city hall called for a 35-foot tower to be built,” Mr. Davis said.

        “A 45-foot tower does not violate any city code, but it does not fit in with the colonial scale of the shopping center.”

        Mr. Davis said the city ordered the tower torn down and ordered Kroger to stick to its original plans.

        Steve Jagers, spokesman for Kroger, said there was a miscommunication among planners of the Kroger expansion on how high the tower should be.

        “It was an inner office mistake and we have corrected it,” he said.

        “We are going ahead with the expansion of the store and we are not violating orders on the facades or any of the facility,” Mr. Jagers said.

        He said the store will expand from 43,000 to 62,000 square feet and will offer added services, including a one-hour photo lab, extensive wine list, and an express self-check out lane.


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