Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Fight over Kroger to be appealed

Developer to face Mason City Council

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Despite rejection by city planners, a Cincinnati developer next month will take to City Council its controversial proposal to build a Kroger store on Mason-Montgomery Road.

        Midland Atlantic Properties wants the city to rezone 140 acres for retail business, high-tech offices and single-family homes. The Cincinnati-based company plans to build 130 houses, an office park and a commercial shopping center, which would include a Kroger store. The site is the Western Row Golf Course — a mainstay on Mason-Montgomery Road for 38 years.

        Earlier this month, the Mason Planning Commission unanimously voted to reject the proposal because it did not comply with the city's comprehensive land-use plan. Mason City Council will review the proposal June 26.

        “I have to admit I'm surprised to see this on the agenda at all,” said Vice Mayor Jim Fox. “Especially after such a large number of people spoke out against it and planning commission turned it down. I certainly don't expect it to get a lot of support when it comes up again.”

        City Engineer Richard Fair said Midland Atlantic can proceed with its zoning change request as submitted or modify it before going to City Council.

        John Silverman, a spokes man for Midland Atlantic, said earlier this month that the site plan for the development had undergone “significant changes.” Some of those include moving the retail portion to a different part of the development.

        It was the 100,000 square feet of retail space spread over 25 acres that troubled city planners the most. Mason Mayor John McCurley, who also sits on the planning commission, said city leaders have tried to keep Mason-Montgomery Road free of commercial retailers.

        More than 350 people packed the Mason High School Commons on May 2 to speak out against the project. Many argue the development would generate too much traffic for heavily traveled Mason-Montgomery Road and create other “nuisances” such as excessive lights, signs, noise and trash.


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