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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

Wal-Mart plans inch ahead, but with conditions

A proposed Wal-Mart Super Center in Perrysburg Township is one step closer to reality after the Wood County Planning Commission yesterday recommended approval of its preliminary footprint, with several conditions.

The 217,000-square-foot store would be on the north side of U.S. 20 and Simmons Road, near the Crossroads of America shopping center.

The commission's recommendations to the township included conditions addressing concerns about landscaping, sound, light pollution, and traffic.

They suggested that Simmons be widened from U.S. 20 to Deimling Road to accommodate traffic to an entrance off Simmons.

"Simmons Road narrows down halfway through the parking lot," commission member Richard Kohring said.

They also suggested that access to the store from U.S. 20 be by right turn only, and that vehicles leaving the store onto U.S. 20 only be allowed to turn right.

Few of the nearly 20 people in the audience commented on the project.

A Northwood man expressed concerns about the effects of sound and lights from the store's 1,013-spot parking lot on residents of the adjacent Heartland of Perrysburg nursing home.

The commissioners added to their recommendation a condition that lights be inward and downward-facing, and that a sound barrier be constructed to the west and north of the site.

On Monday, the township zoning commission will hold a public hearing on plans for the store.

The land, 30 acres owned by Mary Cranker, does not need to be rezoned because it already is zoned for a planned-unit development.

The proposed supercenter, which could open in late 2007, would include a grocery section, the more than 1,000-space parking lot, and a future gas station.

It would be the second in the Toledo area.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is building a 203,000-square-foot supercenter in Holland at the rear of the Spring Meadows Shopping Center. That store could open early next year.

Bruce Jeffers of Bowling Green asked the planning commission what could be done about the economic impact of Wal-Mart on employees in the region.

"Wal-Mart and their employment practices are not good," he said.

Members of the planning commission told him they don't have control over what retailer moves into the site, and they would be going through the same process if the proposed store were a Meijer or Costco.

"If you don't like them, don't shop there," Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown said.



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