Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Wal-Mart debate postponed until March

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

LEBANON - City Council put plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on hold Tuesday after failing to inform one of its possible new neighbors.

The supercenter is slated for Bypass U.S. 42 and Ohio 48, and Wal-Mart officials are seeking a zoning change. But because one of the 11 neighbors to the site did not receive notification, City Council pushed discussion to March 9.

Immediately after the zoning change vote was postponed, residents met with two Wal-Mart representatives and examined plans for the 52-acre parcel. According to Kitty M. Cassis, real estate broker for Wal-Mart in Cincinnati, the proposed supercenter encompass 23 acres.

"Wal-Mart feels their customers in Lebanon would like an alternative in grocery shopping," Cassis said. "That's what we're trying to do here."

Residents still had mixed views about the possible supercenter.

"Traffic is ever-increasing," said Turtlecreek Township resident Brent Devery. "It's a battle just trying to get onto the roadway."The planned development has upset people along two-lane U.S. 42, mainly because of expected increased traffic. Supporters say the parcel is part of the city's comprehensive plan for development, and will help recoup nearly 300 retail jobs recently lost from the city.

This Warren County city is the latest Tristate community in which a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter has aroused opposition from residents recently. Some residents in Milford and Deerfield Township are also trying to block Wal-Mart supercenters because of concerns that included increased congestion, noise and harm to small businesses.

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