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Published: Friday, 7/11/2003

Kroger proposal lacks planners' endorsement

A controversial proposal to build a shopping center in Point Place that would include a Kroger supermarket moved through the Toledo Plan Commission yesterday without a recommendation.

An absence and an abstention prevented the commission from making a recommendation on the proposal

The request to convert 4555-4665 Suder Ave. from a single-family residential zone into a shopping center zone to accommodate the proposed shopping center was made by Park West Development of Toledo.

The commission voted 2-1 to disapprove the request, but because a three-vote majority is required for any action by the commission, the request will go to City Council's planning and zoning committee without a recommendation.

The proposed shopping center has been met with fierce opposition from residents of the area, many of whom attended the plan commission session.

The residents expressed concerns about increased traffic congestion, as well as the overall degeneration of the residential neighborhood.

“I don't understand why they have to demolish well-kept homes to put up a shopping center,” aaid Marie Rossler, a longtime Suder resident.

Park West Development was represented at the meeting by Robert Gersten, who tried to convince the commission that the shopping center would be an improvement.

He cited Kroger stores at Holland-Sylvania Road and Bancroft Street in Toledo and Sylvania Avenue and King Road in Sylvania Township as stores that have been placed in residential areas and have easily been assimilated into the surrounding neighborhoods.

“I think that the program that Kroger has only serves to support communities,” Mr. Gersten said after the meeting.

The plan commission's vote was viewed as a victory by residents opposed to the shopping center, many of whom stood and cheered after the votes were tallied.

“I think it has been clear ... that we do consider the residents here as part of our decision-making process,” said Rey Boezi, the plan commission member who voted to disapprove the request.

The ultimate decision rests with the full City Council.

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