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2004-02-12
Westerville, OH. Residents Want to Keep Church, and Pray for CVS to Leave.

The Westerville, Ohio City Council chambers are expected to be crammed to the rafters on February 17th. That's the evening when convenience store CVS goes before the Council for a final reading to rezone land for the corporation. As is usual with these companies, they are building on a corner lot, and demolishing a gas station and a Methodist church to clear the way for their 11,000 s.f. box with a drive-through window. If the council members listen to what the people of Westerville are saying, the rezoning would be denied. According to ThisWeek newspaper, the Clerk of Council has reported that nearly all of the correspondence to city hall has been against the rezoning. Residents have also been circulating petitions against CVS. As many as 1,000 residents have added their names to the petition being circulated by the Olde Westerville Protective Association. The OWPA objects to the project because of traffic concerns, and the demolition of the church building. To draw attention to project opposition, the group has planted bright orange signs along State Street, Understandably, the Methodist Church is hoping to cash in on the $1.2 million CVS' has used to tempt parishioners. Greed seems to never go out of style. The Church's Reverend was quoted by ThisWeek as saying, ""Our prayers are that council will have wisdom to do what is best for the whole community." But CVS is going to need more than prayers to secure enough votes. The CVS land offer is equivalent to giving each of the 383 church members $3,133 for their stake in the church. The newspaper quoted one 48 year member of the church as saying, "I think (city council) ought to vote no on it. I don't think that's a place for CVS, myself." Westerville Mayor Mike Heyeck seems to miss the issue entirely when he told the paper, "we can't vote no just because it's a CVS ... the fact that (it's) CVS has no bearing. It's an application as any other application."

What you can do: The Mayor can vote no because the land is not properly zoned. He can vote no because of the undesireable impact of the traffic. He can vote no because he doesn't want to encourage auto-oriented drive throughs in a residential neighborhood. Rezoning should not be an arbitrary and capricious decision. The City Council should go by the criteria for rezoning land in Westerville, and they must remember that they can't say yes to rezoning just because its a CVS. For similar stories about CVS's problems with local residents, search this Newsflash page by "CVS."










 
 
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