WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- West Chester trustees voted no Tuesday evening to the proposed construction of a Kroger Marketplace store near the corner of Tylersville and Princeton-Glendale roads.
The project had West Chester residents up in arms because the empty field where the Kroger would be built is zoned for residential building. Many residents want the 36 acres of land to stay that way, and Tuesday's vote brought a sigh of relief.
"It is not, in my opinion, a win win scenario for West Chester Township when a large project done in phases has the potential to die on the vine and never be completed," trustee Mark Welch said.
In addition to the new Kroger, the zoning proposal would have allowed for other retail businesses to build on the property. Those other businesses could have included fast food restaurants, a Kroger gas station and about 40,000 square feet for other commercial businesses under the “Crossings at Beckett” plan.
"Their plan was to get the Kroger built and years later, if ever," George Lang, President of West Chester Twp. board of trustees said. "We couldn't even get a time commitment out of them, construct all of the buffering at a future point in time."
A Kroger located near the proposed site would have closed if the new one was built, along with a business close to the Kroger, owned by Diane Grimes.
"It's really gonna hurt all those businesses around there," she said. "My friends own the Taco Bell right in front of Kroger there. They just did a big remodel on it, I'm sure they don't want to see Kroger moving. That would hurt their business."
The project area is close to three Lakota schools including Lakota Freshman School, Options Academy and Lakota Early Childhood Development Center.
The developer behind the proposal had previously made a case to a zoning commission to get the project approved, but was turned down.
Residents who are against the issue said it would increase traffic in the area and put children at risk. A Facebook page created by opponents of the plan had 300 “likes” Tuesday evening.
Residents also cited noise and odor pollution as potential concerns about the development.
Deb Lawrence, resident and member of the grassroots organization vote to stop the new store has another idea.
"If we continue to keep it to its true form of residential mixed use, we can get something that might be more like a library or church, much more downgraded than a big boxed store," she said.
West Chester spokeswoman Barbara Wilson said the trustees had to take a vote at Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting because the law requires them to vote within 20 days of the close of public hearing. However, the trustees said their vote won't stop another potential developer with a new proposal to build on the land.
WCPO's Bryce Anslinger and Amy Wadas contributed to this report.
Note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported that the proposal had come before the West Chester trustees two previous times. WCPO regrets the error.