Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Mason shuts door on proposal for Kroger store

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Mason City Council on Monday rejected a controversial plan to replace a popular public golf course on Mason-Montgomery Road with a Kroger store.

        Council voted unanimously to deny a request by Midland Atlantic Properties to rezone 141 acres — the Western Row Golf Course — to retail, high-tech office and single- family residential. The Cincinnati-based developer had planned to build 130 homes, an office park and a commercial shopping center that would include a Kroger.

        Last month, the Mason Planning Commission recommended denial because the proposal did not meet the city's comprehensive land-use plan. Council elected to follow that recommendation.

        “You do not see the kind of high-density retail and residential development here like you do as Mason-Montgomery Road extends out of Mason,” Mayor John McCurley said. “That is done intentionally and with purpose by the planning commission. We like the look that we started along the road and we plan to maintain it.”

        Nearly 80 residents packed City Hall to voice its opposition to the project. Critics applauded City Council for its decision. Many res idents who opposed the development pointed to traffic congestion, and other “nuisance features of retail” such as noise, lights and signage.

        “Retail developments are 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operations and we don't want to see the traffic,” said Sherry Allen, who lives on Man-O-War Lane.

        Other residents expressed their desire to see Western Row remain a golf course or at least green space.

        “It's highly unlikely that it will remain a golf course,” said Robert Peeler, attorney for golf course owner John Zopff. “But Mr. Zopff is willing to work with the city to ensure that there is a development that meets the city's plan and allows him to make an investment in his retirement.”

        Attorneys representing Midland Atlantic had no comment.


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