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Setback dealt to proposed mall project in Maumee

Maumee city council voted 4-3 last night to deny an application for a permit for the proposed Mall at Fallen Timbers, but the developer said a new application will be submitted in January.

Council's vote was aimed at clearing up confusion over the status of the application.

During council's meeting two weeks ago, a city official indicated General Growth Properties' application and site plan were being withdrawn, but the developer later contended there had been a misunderstanding, and only the site plan was withdrawn.

After an hour-long, closed-door session to discuss the mall issue, council considered three motions on the matter. Council agreed to rescind action taken Dec. 3 on the site plan and application, and then voted against a motion to accept General Growth's request to withdraw the site plan.

With the site plan active again, council voted to deny the current application for a shopping center of integrated design near the U.S. 23/I-475 interchange with U.S. 24.

Council members Brent Buehrer, Christopher Ferrara, Richard Carr, and Thomas Shook voted to deny the application. Council members Jenny Barlos, Todd Zimmerman, and Douglas Brainard voted against the denial.

General Growth's site plan was tabled several weeks ago after council voted against vacating a portion of Russell Road to make room for one of the anchor stores.

After the site plan was withdrawn two weeks ago, Mr. Carr proposed zoning changes that, if approved, would ban large-scale shopping centers in certain sections of the city. The matter was referred to the municipal planning commission which has scheduled a public hearing Feb. 25 on the proposed changes.

However, Louis Bucksbaum, senior vice president for Chicago-based General Growth, said a full and complete application with a new site plan will be presented to the city in January. General Growth plans to open the mall in spring, 2004, he said.

Once the application is made, the mall project would be considered as “grandfathered,” meaning that the city could not stop the project with a zoning change made at a later date, explained Timothy Konieczny, an attorney for the developer.

In a related matter, council agreed to retain a consultant to look into what costs the city could incur if the mall is built, such as for hiring more police officers and firefighters.

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