Clark County commissioners approved Wednesday a rezoning for a proposed retail store in Bethel Twp., despite multiple objections from upset residents who live nearby — including some who asked voters to remember the decision at the polls.
The rezoning for a proposed two-acre Dollar General store at 5550 W. National Road was approved by a 2-1 vote after a contentious two-hour meeting Wednesday morning with the stipulation that the development perform a review of traffic and safety before it can proceed with construction.
Clark County Commissioners Lowell McGlothin and Melanie Flax Wilt each voted in favor of the rezoning, while Commissioner Rick Lohnes voted against it.
“All we’ve done is add another acre to a place they could already put a business,” McGlothin said.
The decision upset residents who believe the proposed store will lead to more accidents, traffic, crime, congestion, flooding, trash and noise in the area. Several residents called for people to vote against McGlothin and Flax Wilt in the future.
“Don’t vote them back in,” said Bethel Twp. resident Charlotte Fogarty, who lives nearby on U.S. 40.
The rezoning request was made by Nashville-based GBT Realty, who sought to develop a similar store in 2015. Designer Greg Glaser said the developer could build the store on the one-acre property if the rezoning was denied but it would be more expensive.
The rezoning for the store planned at the corner of West National and North Tecumseh roads was approved by both the Clark County Planning Commission and the Clark County Rural Zoning Commission in June.
Some residents and property owners who say they live within 200 feet of the proposed retail store told county commissioners they weren’t notified of those meetings. County commissioners sought to have the case reappear at the Rural Zoning Commission in September, but were told by the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office it’s not legal to send the case back. The county sent new notices by certified mail.
The property is currently zoned community business and rural residence district. The proposal would change the zoning to a neighborhood business.
The site is the former Fort Tecumseh Olde Fashun Store, which closed in 2012. McGlothin asked the developer to consider placing a historical marker at the site and possibly even design the building in the style of the former penny candy store.
County staff recommended the rezoning based on several conditions, including:
• Approval from the Ohio EPA that the proposed retail development can utilize the existing community sewer system.
• Approval from the County Engineer’s Department for compliance with storm water regulations.
• Lots being split from the Tecumseh Heights subdivision.
If built, the West National Road location would be the 10th Dollar General in Clark County. A similar proposal was denied in 2015 due to drainage issues on the proposed site on West National Road.
Several residents told commissioners before the vote they wouldn’t shop at the Dollar General if constructed.
Donnelsville resident Doug Frank told commissioners the village’s residents shop at a local store, the Donnelsville Mall. Residents previously rejected a plan to build a Dollar General store in the village.
“Everybody takes care of (the Donnelsville Mall),” he said. “They go down there and get whatever they need and don’t have a problem with it.”
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