Hearing examiner to issue final decision for proposed retail center

A decision on whether the proposed shopping center for High School Road will be permitted for development will be issued by early March.

Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith notified the city Wednesday that attorney briefings are to be completed by Feb. 24 and a decision will be made within the following two weeks.

Last spring, Visconsi, an Ohio-based developer, proposed a 62,000-square-foot shopping center to be constructed on land next to High School Road, directly across from ACE Hardware. The development would include a Bartell Drugs, health care facilities and space for retail, restaurants and professional services.

The proposal has since received extensive pushback from the community.

Smith heard from a multitude of community members last month on the legality of constructing the commercial development.

Opponents cited issues of traffic safety, as well as environmental and economic impacts the development will have on the community.

Proponents, on the other hand, argued that since the area is commercially zoned and privately owned, it is not a discussion of whether it is allowed. They further urged citizens to see the potential economic growth and community space the development would provide.

Architect Charles Wenzlau also presented the proposal’s current design plans, how pedestrian safety would be mitigated, and how the development would blend with the overall aesthetic of downtown Winslow.

Smith’s conclusion will ultimately decide whether or not the development will be permitted.

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