Nemenz said he wants to relocate his Save-a-Lot before Wal-Mart comes to Salem.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Vocal Seventh Street residents who presented a petition with 40 signatures were enough for city council to oppose unanimously a zoning change for property along state Route 14.
Council voted 5-0 against changing four lots east of McDonald's on the east side of the city from residential to commercial. A final vote on the request will be Sept. 11.
Developer Henry Nemenz wants to build a small commercial plaza on the property. The plaza would be anchored by a Save-a-Lot grocery store.
Nemenz said he would be willing to work with council and the planning commission on whatever requirements regarding such things as frontage and soundproofing barriers members would require to make residents happy.
Wal-Mart competition: A Save-a-Lot Nemenz owns on the city's south side would be converted to a convenience store, he said. Nemenz said a new, larger Save-a-Lot would be in competition with the planned Wal-Mart on state Route 14 in Salem, and he wants a store in Columbiana before the Salem Wal-Mart is built.
Locating on Route 14 would be ideal, he said, because the state highway is the main corridor through the northernmost part of the county and on the direct route to Salem, and because most commercial development in the city is along the state highway.
Residents' concerns: Property owners wishing to sell said they have tried repeatedly to sell their homes as residential property with no success.
Residents of Seventh Street, which is south of state Route 14, said the area to be developed would be within 30 to 40 feet of their back doors. With residential zoning in place the property could be developed for condominiums or apartments, which some residents said they would not oppose.
The commercial zoning designation requested would allow not only the food store, but car dealerships, tire sales and repair and automotive repair shops, and a list of other operations the Seventh Street residents said they don't want in their back yards.
Nemenz could request a different commercial designation, Councilwoman Joyce Allcorn pointed out. She said there is another commercial designation that would be more restrictive but still allow a grocery store.