October 21, 2014

Elyria
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Residents object to rezoning for Dollar General

ELYRIA — It passed through the Community Development Committee with ease in January, but on Monday night City Council members after hearing from numerous residents backed away from approving the rezoning of several properties that would have paved the way for a new Dollar General on Lake Avenue.

An old car wash and three homes now sit on area where developers wanted to build the store. But with the rezoning it is questionable if that will happen now.

Chief Building Inspector Phil Lahetta said the lot with the car wash is too small to allow for the store and the homes would have to be razed for the project to work. However, it can’t happen as long as that area of Lake Avenue is zoned business-automotive oriented district and residential two-household district.

City Councilwomen Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, and Brenda Davis, D-2nd Ward, both said they could not get behind the project because of the potential traffic problems it would bring to the community. Both also said a new Family Dollar less than a mile from the proposed store will serve the community just fine.

“I have nothing against a dollar store, but we don’t need another one so close,” Mitchell said. “Plus, I grew over there and I know from experience that the traffic is horrible during the day.”

Davis said she had a number of concerns including two home daycare providers less than 100 feet away, the possibility for more cars than the neighborhood could handle and the effect the store would have on a nearby convenience store that has stocked a lot of items for $1.

“Basically, it’s already such a congested area,” she said.

Kelly Johnson, who lives on Penfield Avenue and heads the area block watch, said she was pleased to see Council take the time to listen to residents.

“We must as a city stop assuming every time a new business wants to come into Elyria that it is always for the best,” she said. “We owe it not only to ourselves but what type of city we want to leave for future generations.”

The store was to be built by a developer, Midwest LLC based in Spring Lake, Mich., and leased to the discount retailer. It is unknown at this time if they will appeal the unanimous vote. Representatives of the company left midway through the meeting and were not available for comment.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.