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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Superstore rezoning opposed by residents

Point Place residents turned out at a Toledo City Council committee hearing yesterday to fight plans for a Kroger superstore at an entry point to the waterfront community.

Park West Development of Toledo plans to buy about a dozen residential parcels on the southwest corner of Suder Avenue and Ottawa River Road, and is seeking a rezoning from residential to commercial.

After a two-hour hearing, council s zoning and planning committee agreed to refer the Kroger rezoning application to the full council without a recommendation. A vote is expected Nov. 25.

District 6 Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz said he opposes the rezoning request. He said it makes little sense for Kroger to vacate the former Food Town they now occupy about half a mile north on Suder at Benore Road in order to create a new strip shopping center.

Park West partner Robert Gersten said Kroger does not own the former Food Town site and never intended to stay in the location.

He said the store isn t large enough for its superstore plans. But residents alleged that Kroger didn t consider redeveloping the existing shopping center seriously and has its eyes on the new location that is close to an I-75 exit.

The Toledo Plan Commission reviewed the proposal July 10 but failed to reach a consensus.

About two dozen speakers objected to Park West s plans, many of them saying the new shopping center would add to traffic woes without affording the residents of Point Place any new shopping. They said they have access to a Meijer store at 1500 East Alexis Rd. and a Kroger on North Summit Street.

“They want to compete with Meijer. Our area is not underserved,” said Paige Michalski. “I don t think there s anybody who is going hungry in the Point.”

Rosemary Day, a Washington Township firefighter who lives near the intersection, said Toledo doesn t need more “cement retail cemeteries.”

“We have a thriving residential neighborhood. I don t want to see that taken away,” she said.

Several residents who plan to sell their houses to Park West urged council to approve the application.

Deborah Toth rejected the safety concerns raised by some of her neighbors, saying Suder is unsafe because it lacks sidewalks and streetlights.

“It s like a drag strip,” she said. Kroger would install a traffic light, she said.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz complimented neighbors on their mobilization, saying the 1,083 signatures of local residents was the largest number he has seen in his five years on council.



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