Findlay town center challenged by angry residents

Neighbors fear Findlay's flooding problems could only worsen.

The future of a multi-million dollar town center in Findlay is being challenged Wednesday by a group of angry residents.

The project would go up not far from the Blanchard River, an area threatened by flooding.

News 11's Dick Berry explains why residents support the project, but not the location.

They're lining up and signing up to stop a $90 million development near the Blanchard River.

Petition supporter Ben Saldana says, "I think it's up to the people to vote for a decision like this, and we weren't given the choice."

Last year, the Findlay City Council leased this old tire dump site near the Blanchard River to a Kentucky developer. Plans call for retail, residential and office development as well as a 1200 seat ballpark for an independent baseball team.

Folks signing the petition worry the project will cause more destructive flooding -- flooding that's hit Findlay four times in the last sixteen months.

One resident said, "One of the main causes of flooding is the controlled development in the community." The petition calls for the repeal of the lease agreement ordinance with the developer. Backers say Findlay is putting development ahead of the interests of the people.

"We're not against development. We're not against growth. We're against non-good planning," a petition supporter said.

Petition headquarters is the Daybreak Massage Therapy Center. Owner Pam August saw nearly four feet of water swamp her business last August, then three feet in February. "This is the United States of America," she says, "We have freedom to oppose decisions, and our right to do this."

The goal is to collect 1300 signatures by August 1 to qualify for the November 4 ballot. But Findlay Law Director David Hackenberg tells us the petition drive is a moot point. The petition is being organized by Ron Moor.

He says the ordinance has been passed, implemented, now in effect and nothing can be done to void the deal. In the meantime, petition lawyers say Hackenberg is wrong.

Posted by LS