Sunday, August 31, 2003

Wal-Mart move stirs up West Chester traffic fears



By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Traffic snarled on westbound Tylersville Road on Friday.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
WEST CHESTER TWP. - The looming vacancy of a Wal-Mart store on 34 acres at Tylersville Road and Interstate 75 in this burgeoning Butler County suburb has re-ignited concerns about suburban sprawl.

Eyebrows shot up last week after a co-owner of a Ford dealership said Woody Sander Ford off I-75 in Winton Place was considering moving to the corner, after Wal-Mart relocates one exit south to a supercenter location. But the next day, William Sander said the move was off due to a "fly in the ointment."

Township leaders say another car dealership could go there.

If that happens, a chief worry for residents would be increased congestions on Tylersville, which sees more than 53,000 vehicles a day. The main east-west thoroughfare runs through the northern part of West Chester, links Warren to Butler County and is regularly packed with cars during rush hour and weekends, placing it among Greater Cincinnati traffic quagmires like Colerain and Beechmont avenues and Fields Ertel Road.

Residents who live in the Ivory Hills subdivision off Tylersville, next to Wal-Mart, worry about what will come next.

They say that since Wal-Mart opened near their $200,000 homes in 1995, traffic on Tylersville has become unbearable.

William Dees, who has lived in Ivory Hills for 10 years in a home that now borders Wal-Mart, said township officials aren't properly planning growth or protecting residents.

"They are moving commercial business into your residential home sites," Dees, 53, said. "I would rather them tear (Wal-Mart) down and build homes, but they are not going to do that. We only live one-tenth of a mile from the expressway and there are times it takes 20 minutes to get there."

West Chester Administrator Dave Gully was confident that other businesses, and even other car dealerships, would be interested in filling that key corner.

"It's not like it's in a corn field," Gully noted. "It's got interstate visibility and all the utilities and infrastructure already is there."

Liberty Township and Butler County officials are pushing to extend the existing Michael A. Fox Highway east at I-75, creating a new exit off the highway into Liberty, which saw a 147 percent jump in population during the 1990s.

If built, the new interchange would link to an extended Cox Road, which intersects Tylersville at one of its busiest intersections. The new exit is expected to relieve congestion on Tylersville but isn't a done deal.

Even if approved, Liberty Township Administrator Barry Tiffany predicts construction would not begin for at least three years.

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com




SPECIAL REPORT: FORECLOSURES
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates

IN THE TRISTATE
Wet day may await Riverfesters
Unions put heat on Cintas
Key players in the fight over union
Labor Day picnic draws thousands
Township comes up short for monument
Church divided, still stands
Former minister vows to return
Homeless camp bulldozed for cars
Woman survives lightning strike
Falun Gong practitioners share story of imprisonment
Art comes outside, where the people are (walking)
Regional Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Pulfer: The Mighty Meatballs a lesson in school spending
Bronson: Homeowner's horror: sewage backups
Howard: Good Things Happening

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Township will see veterans exhibit
Family in the wrong district
Wal-Mart move stirs up West Chester traffic fears

OBITUARIES
William E. Haithcoat Sr., sports coach
John Roeder led Rising Sun schools
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
Ohio bill takes cue from federal do-not-call list
Teacher accused of leading thefts
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Will candidates let it ride?
Kentucky News Briefs