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08-10-04 Plans call for major development with Kroger in St. Marys

By Timothy Cox
tcox@dailystandard.com

  ST. MARYS -- A new commercial and residential development anchored by a Kroger store is being planned for the intersection of U.S. 33 and state Route 66 on the edge of town.

  Donald Fortman, executor of the Fortman trust that includes 64.21 acres of land at the southwest corner of the two highways, wrote a letter asking city council for zoning designations for his land. Because the land was annexed recently, it has no city zoning classification.
  The city's planning commission is expected to meet Sept. 14 to consider the issue. Fortman has requested that 41.09 acres of the tract be zoned for commercial development, 8.12 acres zoned for high-density residential and 15 acres zoned for medium-density residential.
  Oberer Construction Managers Inc., Dayton, is the developer of the site, Fortman said in his letter to council.
  No details of the proposed development were discussed at Monday's city council meeting, but a map submitted with the zoning request shows some of the plans.   A Web site for Oberer Realty Services, a division of the regional development conglomerate, includes a number of other details in offering the property to potential investors.
  The Oberer Web site says the complex will be anchored by a Kroger supermarket with up to 150,000 square feet of other retail space available. The plans also call for another 20,000 square feet of "small shop space."
  Adjacent to the retail development would be a 48-unit apartment complex and 51 single-family dwellings.
  The site also touts the area's accessibility along the two highways and the nearby cities of Wapakoneta and Celina.
  A representative from Oberer Construction is expected to be on hand for the planning commission meeting to share further details. No timelime or proposed phases were included with the zoning plans.
  St. Marys Development Director Todd Fleagle said this morning he could not share any details of the proposed development.
  Safety-Service Director Mike Weadock said city officials do not know specific details of the development but instead are helping the developer deal with engineering issues, especially traffic flow.
  "It's a good site but it's got some unique factors to it," Weadock said. "We're trying to get a lot of those worked out now."
  City officials have long sought a family-type restaurant to locate in the area. Mayor Greg Freewalt and some other city officials have said a plan to build such a restaurant is being considered, but it remains unclear if a restaurant will be a part of the Oberer development.
  In other business Monday, council members:
   Passed final reading of an ordinance that allows the city to collect income taxes on gambling and lottery winnings. Council member James Harris voted against the issue.
   Passed final reading of a resolution to place a tax issue on the Nov. 2 election ballot. Voters will decide if the city can continue to collect income taxes on distributions to owners of S-corporations as defined in IRS rules.
   Passed second reading of an ordinance to refinance $750,000 in remaining debt on the municipal swimming pool.
   Passed an emergency ordinance to set up an escrow, or defeasance fund, to retire some mortgage debt on the electric department.

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