West Chester residents oppose new zoning plan, commission votes against proposal

WEST CHESTER, Ohio - West Chester residents are protesting the proposal to build a new Kroger near Lakota West freshman high school, and the West Chester Zoning Commission voted 4-1 Monday night against the proposal.

The proposal to rezone property near the corner of State Route 747 and Tylersville Road to develop a Kroger Marketplace was heard Monday before the zoning commission. The new zoning proposal would also allow for other retail to build on the property.

Many residents have been vocally opposing the development plan, saying that traffic would become a big issue, noise from having 24-hour businesses would be a problem and leaving the old Kroger store space empty would affect all current small businesses.

Nancy Howard, a West Chester resident, and her family have lived in their home on Wethersfield Drive for 10 years. In that time, she has always had a rule for her kids.

"We've taught them from the age of 1, stay away from the street," Howard said. "It's your enemy."

Howard said drivers speed through her neighborhood in West Chester often and it's unsafe.

"In the morning before school and before work and after school and after work, our road out there is really busy with traffic," Howard said. "The speed limit is 25 but people go easily 35 and above."

That is why she and hundreds of others in West Chester are against the proposed zoning changes.

The property in question is currently a residential area, but depending on West Chester Township officials' decision, it could soon be used to accommodate a new Kroger Marketplace.

"It was meant to buffer the business district with the residential that is our buffer zone and we want to keep that buffer zone," Howard said.

Howard said the Kroger would make for more traffic and speeding drivers in front of her home, and it would potentially decrease her home's property value.

"I just see that getting worse," Howard said. "We already deal with it, I just see it getting worse."

The development company, Silverman and Company, says putting a Kroger and other retail in the area would be a positive for the community, calling the facility "terrific."

"Where is there a community where there is a Kroger store where people say 'we'd be better off if we didn't have a nice grocery store in our community'?" Tim Burgoyne, director of site acquisition and development, said.

The proposal was heard at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the West Chester Township Hall. Dozens packed the meeting where both the developer and citizens were able to have their voices heard about the proposal before the commission voted.

The proposal will now go before the West Chester Township Board of Trustees for their consideration, followed by a public hearing prior to action being taken.

9 On Your Side reporter Mekialaya White contributed to this report.

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