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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Strip mall rezoning approved

Steve+Green%2C+one+of+the+developers+of+the+proposed+strip+mall+on+East+Wooster+Street%2C+explains+to+city+council+on+Monday+evening+why+he+cannot+move+back+the+wall+of+the+buffer+zone+along+shared+property+lines+due+to+engineering+issues.+City+council+kept+the+buffer+the+same+and+passed+the+zoning+ordinance+by+a+4-3+vote.

Steve Green, one of the developers of the proposed strip mall on East Wooster Street, explains to city council on Monday evening why he cannot move back the wall of the buffer zone along shared property lines due to engineering issues. City council kept the buffer the same and passed the zoning ordinance by a 4-3 vote.

Plans to build a strip mall on East Wooster Street are continuing after four months of debate and controversy regarding a zoning change between residents and developers.

City council voted 4-3 in favor of approving a zoning change, which would allow the owners of the lot between North Prospect and North Summit streets to construct a strip mall. The building would consist of office spaces or store fronts on the ground floor with efficiency residential apartments on the second floor.

“I think we came to different conclusions about how the project will impact Bowling Green,” said Daniel Gordon, first ward council member who voted against the change. “The people who supported [the zoning change] came from a business standpoint for economic development. The residents want economic development, but not if it compromises the integrity of the neighborhood.”

This pull between residents’ disapproval and the potential for commercial development led to city council’s split decision.

With the passing of the ordinance, developers slated construction on the strip mall for late this summer.

The initial B-3 zoning change was requested back in October, but was met with opposition from the area’s surrounding residents. They feared the possibility of later developers constructing a four-story apartment complex, which could lower property values.

The community’s reaction prompted city council to create a new zone, B-5, which limits a building to two stories while also restricting residential space to the second floor, conforming to the developers’ original site plan.

The reason a commercial building can be constructed on the block, which consists of mostly residential properties, is because it had already been a commercial zone rather than a residential one.

Although the zone was changed, the council’s narrow decision reflected the mixed feelings of the audience.

“A huge effort has taken place to make the zoning more palatable for those opposed,” said Robert McOmber, At-Large council member.

A few months ago, everyone feared the possibility of a four-story student apartment, but now complaints are focused on the placing of buffers, McOmber said. The council member was referring to the compromises between the city and developers to appease residents in continuing with the project.

Rather than hold out for future development, which might come decades from now, McOmber said he would support this development now.

East side residents’ staunch opposition is one of the reason’s Gordon voted against the change.

“Although some have said that residents opposed to the strip mall are simply ‘afraid of change,’ this is an inaccurate characterization of legitimate expressed concerns,” Gordon said. “Residents merely request that such change is consistent with the residential character and integrity of the neighborhood. That reasonable request guides my vote.”

Community members who voiced their concerns about the zoning mainly asked city council and the developers to reconsider widening the buffering zones along the property lines shared by the residents.

Both resident Vassiliki Leontis and attorney Norman Geer, who represented another community member, asked for the six-foot wall included in the buffering zone along the properties to be moved five feet back.

Despite the request, developers were not willing to compromise any further.

“We can’t move the wall,” said developer Steve Green. “We’ve been in this process for four months, we’re not here to change anything.”

Green said moving the walls back would create engineering problems with drainage and parking, which he said would be put in a tight space already.

Other city officials showed support for the developers, warning city council that a negative vote could hurt later potential for investors to come to the city.

“What message are we sending to local community-minded folks,” said Earlene Kilpatrick of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, “that we are resistant to change and growth?”

Kilpatrick and a few other council members commended the developers for their patience in the process and their willingness to work with residents before they amended and passed the zoning change.

After the meeting, Michelle Green, who represented the developers, said they were excited and pleased with council’s decision and planned to break ground on the strip mall in July or August.

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