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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Building awaits accord on roads

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The development of the Shops at Fallen Timbers off U.S. 24 in Maumee is proceeding slowly.

Developer General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago has been doing site work for months but can't start putting up structures until it reaches an agreement with Maumee over who will build and pay for new roads for the site, just south of the U.S. 23/I-475 interchange.

That agreement was a requirement of the site plan, which was approved by the Maumee Planning Commission in October.

City officials hope that agreement will be reached soon.

"We think we're getting close now to solving that problem," city Administrator John Jezak said.

The approved site plan would turn Jerome Road into a cul-de-sac, removing its intersection with Russell Road. Residents on Jerome had worried about mall traffic on the road.

The Isaac Group, which owns 310 acres next to the mall that it plans to develop, would have to give land to the city for a new Russell-Jerome connector, which would be farther north on Jerome. The new connector would keep mall traffic off the part of Jerome in the city.

Mall traffic will travel on U.S. 24 and Black, Stitt, and Waterville-Monclova roads. The previous site plan would have put about 30 percent of the mall traffic on Jerome, which residents worried would be unsafe.

Last month, the planning commission voted to remove a condition of the site plan that prohibited off-site work before the Russell-Jerome connector was approved.

Mr. Jezak said the requirement was complicating the discussion, and it wasn't needed since the commission could put conditions for road improvements on plans for future developments.

"It's not like we let somebody off the hook," he said.

The new connector would go on Isaac property, not General Growth's property.

Mr. Jezak said that the Isaac Group didn't want to pay for traffic improvements on their land for traffic generated by the other developer's property.

Mr. Jezak said the city could take the land from the Isaac Group, but would prefer to get it voluntarily.

City employees and representatives from General Growth and the Isaac Group have been meeting since October to work things out. Isaac Group president Zac Isaac said they hope to reach an agreement soon.

The road would provide access not only to the mall but also to future development on his property, he said.

Work that has been done at the site so far includes infrastructure and foundation pads for the buildings.

The developer needs a building permit to do much more, Mr. Jezak said.

"They've done almost everything they can," he said.



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