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Published: Tuesday, 11/27/2001

Wal-Mart planned for Oregon

Wal-Mart is coming to Oregon.

City council last night approved a zoning change by a 6-1 vote, allowing the world's largest retailer to build a $12.5 million super store on Schmidlin Road and Navarre Avenue.

About 120 residents jammed council chambers in the Municipal Building for more than 21/2 hours of discussions on noise levels, traffic flow, buffer zones, and building aesthetics.

George B. Oravecz, consulting engineer for Wal-Mart, said the company is coming to Oregon as “a good neighbor,” willing to meet the high standards demanded by the city's government and residents.

He and Gary Breier, an attorney representing owners of the 20-acre parcel, said they had listened and agreed to meet most of the concerns expressed by residents at two meetings. Among the issues were ensuring that noise levels do not violate existing ordinances, that the back of the building would be properly screened from residential areas, and that Wal-Mart be required to properly maintain the landscaping and its property over the long term.

Mr. Orovecz said the retailer would not limit the time that trucks could make deliveries but said Wal-Mart stores average only two shipments between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily.

The developers agreed to meet four conditions recommended by the city planning commission when it gave its approval for the zoning change Oct. 16, and they added nine conditions drawn up after meeting with nearby residents.

Among the conditions are lighting shields to prevent the light from crossing over property lines, irrigation of all landscaped areas, screening from residential areas, and using brick on all four sides of the building instead of cement block on the back of the building.

A half- dozen residents voiced their opposition to the project. Some said they did not want a congested commercial zone like the one on Airport Highway in Springfield Township. A major point of concern was an area in the northeast corner of the property where a Toledo Edison easement and power lines preclude earthen barriers, which will make the store more visible.

Council voted 7-0 to amend the original proposal to include Mr. Orovecz's conditions, then voted 6-1, with Councilman Tony Romano dissenting, to approve the zoning change from condo-residential to commercial.

The building will cost an estimated $10.5 million, and the property and site improvements will cost $2 million. Construction is tentatively set for spring, with completion a year later, Mr. Orovecz said.



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