The argument over whether it’s legal to shut down parts of Rothrock Road in a battle over a proposed Walmart and Sam’s Club will go to trial today.
Copley Township officials and Fairlawn resident Jacob Pollock are suing the city of Fairlawn over the city’s move to shut off access to Rothrock Road and the property where the stores would be built.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty has already thrown out five of the six most recent claims that Copley filed against Fairlawn and 18 of 20 counts that Pollock filed against the city.
The case has generated countless legal motions including preliminary injunctions to stop the road closing, accusations that Fairlawn is imposing unreasonable barricades on a public road and faulting the city for not following the proper legal channels to close the road.
Fairlawn contends that it can legally close the portions of Rothrock Road in Fairlawn because it is the city’s job to preserve the residential integrity of the neighborhood against shoppers who will use the road.
Both communities accuse each other of not keeping each other informed on proposed Walmart plans or other legislative plans before taking action.
The court has narrowed the case to determine whether Rothrock Road can legally be closed based on whether it should be classified as an urban local road or principal highway and whether the closing poses a safety risk.
The fight dates back to November 2010. Fairlawn closed portions of Rothrock Road after Walmart proposed moving its store and its sister store Sam’s Club from the city’s Rosemont Commons Plaza on state Route 18 about a mile west to a 40-acre vacant lot site on Rothrock Road in Copley Township.
Store officials said they want to build a new Walmart that can accommodate groceries and other new product offerings. It also wants to build a new Sam’s Club that would offer fuel pumps.
Fairlawn already moved ahead with a couple of road closings. It barricaded Rosemont Boulevard at Rothrock Road and put up a second barricade on Rothrock Road at Sawgrass Drive. It has held off on installing more expensive gates.
McCarty plans to first weigh some motions in the case and then visit the area before opening arguments this afternoon. The trial is expected to take a couple of days.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com.