Residents Question Noise, Traffic from Proposed Market District
First public meeting draws more than 200
One man said the benefits the store would bring to the city outweigh the negatives, including new life to empty Pearl Road storefronts.
"This will help fill those buildings," he said.
But others, especially those who live close to the parcel, worried about noise, traffic and light from the store, which would be open 24 hours a day.
"It's on top of my house," said Fawn Circle resident Becky Khoury, whose concerns include gasoline and diesel fumes from the cars and trucks. "I see people not shopping there because it's too expensive."
Her neighbor, Trish Putrino, said the store offers only negatives to nearby homeowners.
"This is in our back yard. You might as well forget about selling," Putrino said.
Others questioned whether the newly widened Pearl Road could handled the traffic and whether Strongsville could support a store like Market District, which company officials say is an upscale version of Giant Eagle, with gourmet food sections, on-site chefs, a large prepared foods selection, beverage bar and in-store cafe with seating for 120.
Todd Waldo, senior manager of real estate development and construction for Giant Eagle, said market research showed the store would do well in Strongsville.
"We're very confident this store will be a welcome addition to this community," Waldo said.
Phil Bishop of Echo Realty, which would be the developer of the project, said a traffic study is under way to see if a traffic signal at one of the two driveways onto Pearl Road is warranted.
He and Waldo also said a buffer zone of at least 50 feet, with walls, sound-proofing and dense trees, would help screen residents to the east and north from noise.
Lights would shine downward onto the parking lot to prevent them from illuminating residents' yards, Waldo said. And loading docks would be positioned to help spare nearby residents from seeing or hearing the trucks.
Some residents also wondered whether the existing Giant Eagle store at Westfield SouthPark would sit vacant.
Waldo said he does not expect filling the building to be a problem.
"There's been a lot of interest in that site already," he said.
The meeting was hosted by Giant Eagle and the owners of the Strongsville Golf property, represented by attorney Nick Catanzarite, who said the partners are "eager to sell their land."
The project hinges on rezoning a portion of the Pearl Road land from residential to business, which in Strongsville must be approved by voters citywide and in the ward, in this case Ward 2.
Catanzarite, who said the project would "ignite further development along South Pearl," said the public meetings are designed to present facts about the store and get feedback from the community.
The next public meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at St. John Neumann Church.