Construction of new Kroger Marketplace underway in Liberty Twp.

Construction work is underway Wednesday, Aug. 9, on the Kroger Marketplace at Ohio 4 at Kyles Station Road in Liberty Twp. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Construction work is underway Wednesday, Aug. 9, on the Kroger Marketplace at Ohio 4 at Kyles Station Road in Liberty Twp. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Neighbors protested the development for months, but Liberty Twp. approved it with conditions.

Construction crews have started work at the site of a new Kroger Marketplace that drew ire from some neighbors near the Ohio 4 and Kyles Station Road intersection.

Kroger is building 134,000-square-foot Marketplace, which will replace a 57,000-square-foot storefront that Kroger started leasing at 5420 Liberty-Fairfield Road in 1998. The store will be part of a larger retail center.

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Bryan Behrmann, the planning and zoning director for Liberty Twp., said the grocery giant got its zoning approval on May 23 for the store itself but the gas station portion of the project is still in the works.

“We did issue the permit for the principal building, the store itself, so they’re moving dirt up and working on the construction of that,” Behrmann said. “We’re still reviewing their fuel center because it is a separate building … I think they’re tweaking their lighting plan a little bit to meet our regulations.”

However, Kroger can’t get bricks and mortar work started until it has building permits from Butler County.

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Dennis Deckard, the chief building official for the county, said the certificate of plan approval is complete but Kroger hasn’t come to pick it up yet.

Kroger officials who are familiar with the project could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Neighbors who live near the Kroger said they feared the new store would generate noise, traffic, lighting and crime, disrupting their daily lives, reducing their property values, and making it difficult to sell under-construction and existing homes.

After the zoning board approved some variances for the project in February 2015, the neighbors appealed to common pleas court. Butler County Judge Greg Stephens sided with Kroger.

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Tim Mara, an attorney who represented the neighbors through the zoning process, said Kroger did make some concessions.

“They usually address the easy ones and ignore the tough ones,” Mara said. “There were some issues about noise and proximity of the loading dock to the houses to the east. They came back with some landscaping and some buffering.”

Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell said he didn’t personally get any complaints from neighbors, but said there is always tension when a commercial operation wants to locate near homes.

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“With any commercial anywhere near residential there’s always some compromises that need to be made,” Farrell said. “We have to figure out a way to co-exist. That’s what the zoning commission tries to do in all these cases, and I believe it’s what they tried to do here and I think they accomplished it.”

The site will also house Shoppes at Kyles Station I, a 13,800-square-foot strip center, that will be home to PetValu, El Rancho Nuevo restaurant, Great Clips, Aura Nail & Spa and a to-be-named restaurant.

Liberty Twp. Trustee Board President Christine Matacic said she believes the development will be good for the township.

“I think for the community it gives our residents additional options when it comes to being able go from a smaller store to a larger store,” she said. “There is more variety they’ll have access to and in the busy world we all live in. With Kroger now having meals prepared, it gives people options that they didn’t have before out in this area.”

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