Council rejects Kirkwood Highway shopping center

By Jim Hilgen 1:06am, February 13, 2013 - Updated 4:17pm, February 13, 2013
Video excerpts from testimony before Council.
A proposed shopping center on the Kirkwood Highway is stopped in its tracks by County Council.

In pitching the project before Council, lawyer Rich Abbott cited its potential financial impact.

"The construction of this project, which is estimated to be in the total $22 to $23 million range will involve the creation of about 480 jobs."

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After hearing that and other arguments from Abbott, County Council then allowed the public to have their say.

Area resident and civic association member Carol O'Donnell says the project's magnitude makes it unsuitable.

"A 340,000 sq. ft. regional shopping center on 55 acres would be a major commercial intrusion into an established residential community."

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County Land Use Department head David Culver says it's the wrong project for that location.

"We took a lot of careful language to say that we recognize this is a transitional piece of land, it's zoned as low density residential and they're going from this very low residential density to a very intense use."

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The stream of opponents including area residents and state lawmakers citing traffic and other quality of life concerns in speaking out against the project.

"For those of you who didn't notice the referral was continually to Kirkwood Highway. Actually, this portion of the road is Old Capital Trail. It has a different name because it has a different character. If you drive the road you will notice that," says State Rep. Mike Ramone.

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After more than two hours of developer presentation and public comment Council members had the final say by voting against the zoning change.

Each member cited the recommendations of the land use and planning departments as influencing their votes.

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