The Mall at Fallen Timbers packed the house again last night, but people prepared to protest or praise the proposed project went home without making a peep publicly.
During its meeting in Maumee Municipal Court, City Council took no comments from the audience on the controversial mall issue. Instead, council agreed to conduct a public hearing June 3. The location has not been determined.
Council must find a large meeting place, possibly the auditorium at a local school. Some people who have attended standing-room-only meetings about the mall in the last few months showed up an hour early last night because they wanted to make sure they got a seat. After all the seats were taken, people stood along the walls of the courtroom.
Several representatives of the construction trades were in the audience. Some carried hand-made placards with messages of support for the mall.
After learning that a public hearing would be held in June to discuss the permit application for the proposed mall, most of the people who had packed the courtroom promptly left the building. Some were disappointed they didn't get the chance to talk about the issue, but more than a few were relieved - the air-conditioning in city hall wasn't working properly and the courtroom was hot and stuffy.
Council moved its meeting to the courtroom because election equipment was set up in council chambers.
Maumee's Municipal Planning Commission recently recommended approval of the permit application for the mall. The applicant is Northwest Ohio Mall, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Growth Properties, Inc., of Chicago. The recommendation included 26 conditions, many dealing with infrastructure improvements. The mall is to be built on 160 acres near the U.S. 23/I-475 interchange with U.S. 24.