Ky. Voices: Stop plan to build Kroger mega-store in neighborhood

November 13, 2013 

Footprint of new proposed Kroger store in Lexington's Chevy Chase neighborhood

Even a five-year-old child knows you cannot put a large, square peg into a small, round hole.

But then again, a child doesn't have to listen to a politician twist arms in the quid-pro-quo world of the zoning of the Euclid Avenue Kroger.

Infill and redevelopment appear to be redefined by city planners as up-zoning out-of-character, large, new buildings in small, older neighborhoods.

Planning and zoning commissioners appear to be volunteer rubber-stampers who perform at the behest of our commercial-builder mayor and a less-than-fair staff.

It is a culture of more revenue at the sake of older neighborhoods and 100 years of fine architectural workmanship.

The final vote of the Planning Commission is 1:30 p.m. Thursday. A quick look at the facts reveals the half-truths and consequences of a city and a corporate behemoth out of control:

■ The two public renderings shown in the newspaper do not show the massive scale of an acre-and-a-half, three-story building on only a three-acre lot. The normal building-footprint-to-lot-ratio is 35 percent, not 50 percent as proposed.

■ Sixty-five percent of the required parking will be on the roof. Nowhere in Kroger's inventory of national buildings is there such a building. Everybody I have talked to says they will not dare drive up a short, steep ramp to park. If parking is full at street level, customers say they will, instead, park at businesses across the street or go elsewhere.

■ Since the parking garage cannot support the weight of fire trucks and ambulances which cannot negotiate turns to the rooftop, fire and EMS will instead block entrances with their vehicles while they haul equipment through the store tying up elevators and stopping escalators.

I sure would not want to be in this Kroger if a vehicle fire on the rooftop gets into one of the air vents.

■ There is only one entrance for this proposed 86,000-plus square-foot building. At the existing building, there are four entrances. At one-tenth the size, the Speedway gas station down the street has three entrances. The 18-wheeler trucks will use the same single entrance as customers. If there is an accident, plan on pitching a tent, because your car is blocked in.

■ With the building now turned sideways and its mammoth walls up against the sidewalk on Euclid and Marquis Avenues, traffic turning in from Euclid Avenue will have to wait while the customer-pushed grocery carts have the right-of-way across the yellow stripes to their parked cars. This will cause massive back-up on Euclid Avenue as pedestrians have the right-of-way.

■ None of the 18-wheeler trucks will be able to turn onto Marquis Avenue to get into the loading dock as Marquis Avenue is not wide enough with the parked cars on the street. Do you really think a Teamster driver is going to turn off his noisy diesel cab and freeze to death so that a neighbor next door can get to sleep?

■ The argument that Kroger needs a store three times the current size because shoppers are shopping elsewhere is laughable considering Kroger, along with all its other stores, is a near-monopoly in Lexington.

Call or e-mail the commission members at 258-3160 or planningmailbox@lexingtonky.gov to tell them not to approve this plan.

Call or e-mail the Kroger officials and board of directors at 1-800-576-4377 or contactus@kroger.com and tell them to scale the new building way back.

Tell the mayor we can vote him out of office. Those of us who supported him long ago didn't know we supported a chameleon who changes color with the political winds.

Opponents of this plan had 33 speakers at the microphone and 750-plus signatures who weren't heard at the August public hearing. It is now time for them to be heard.

Ike Lawrence, a Lexington businessman, is past president of Aylesford and Shriners neighborhood associations.

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