COLUMBIANA Council to decide fate of annexation

Not everyone thinks a grocery store would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
COLUMBIANA -- City council has two zoning and annexation requests for property along state Route 14 on the table.
Members will consider accepting annexation of 32.68 acres of Beaver Township in Mahoning County into the city, and rezoning four properties from residential to commercial.
Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall.
The 32.68 acres owned by Earl Corey is northwest of the city. Mahoning County commissioners have approved the annexation.
The city planning commission voted Tuesday to recommend council accept the annexation and zone the annexed property for commercial use.
Plans: Physicians of Salem Internal Medicine Associates Inc. want to build a medical office complex on the property.
Joyce Conn, Doris Warner and Michael Kluchar own residential property between state Route 14 and Seventh Street that businessman Henry Nemenz wants to buy. Nemenz would like to build a Save-a-Lot grocery store on the property east of the McDonald's restaurant on the south side of Route 14.
They and representatives of the Columbiana Church of Christ along Route 14 in the same area have petitioned to have the zoning changed.
The Route 14 residents have said they have tried unsuccessfully to sell their homes as residential property. With continued development in the area and the increased traffic on Route 14, they don't think their chances to sell to other homeowners will improve anytime soon.
Residents of Seventh Street, which is parallel to the south of Route 14, don't want a commercial district in their back yards and have voiced opposition to the zoning change at several council meetings.
Although Nemenz and his representatives have discussed their preliminary plans for the Save-a-Lot at some of the same council meetings, the Seventh Street residents said they fear the zone change would open the property to enterprises they would view as undesirable, such as car dealerships or auto repair shops. They don't want bright lights, dust, litter and traffic noise in their neighborhood.
Council's decision: Mayor Lowell Schloneger broke a 3-3 tie when council voted on the change at the Nov. 6 council meeting. He said council members Matt Weikart, Leonard Pritchard and Paula Miner voted for the change. Members Joyce Allcorn, Robert Hum and Donald Leonard were opposed.
Schloneger said Seventh Street residents were present at the Nov. 6 meeting, but less adamant than previously. He said he voted in favor of the change because "like it or not, Route 14 is commercial."
Nemenz has said his Save-a-Lot stores have been successful in the area, and he likes the Columbiana location. Schloneger said Nemenz has agreed that the store won't be close to Route 14, and the businessman will provide trees and other landscaping at the back of the property as a buffer for the Seventh Street residential area.

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