Settlement Reached in Mall Road Case

A tentative settlement was reached Friday in the case involving construction of a connector road in the U.S. 40- Ohio Valley Plaza area, according to Belmont County commissioners.

Commissioners are to vote on whether to approve the settlement at their next meeting set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Commission President Matt Coffland said. Commissioners, though, are declining comment as to the details.

“Nothing is settled until it is approved on our end,” Coffland said. “What I can say is a settlement has been reached, and it is to be reviewed by the commissioners. I feel very confident and positive it will be accepted.”

An upcoming Jan. 24 hearing in the case has been canceled, Coffland said.

On Nov. 20, counsel for the Belmont County commissioners filed a motion with the Belmont County Common Pleas Court asking the court to examine a 1999 ruling directing Lou Stein and Home Pro Enterprises to pay for the construction of a 300-foot connector road.

The road would have extended from U.S. 40 to property owned by Stein near the Ohio Valley Plaza, and land possessed by the Stewart family.

No development was ever started on the land, and construction of the road was never initiated by Stein.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is asking Belmont County to transfer $1.9 million to start construction of the connector road that would begin near the All Fore One miniature golf course along U.S. 40, then extend south west of the Ohio Valley Plaza behind Sam’s Club and wind behind the Lowe’s Home Improvement store. It would link up with a roadway and bridge over Interstate 70 to be constructed by ODOT.

The ODOT road then would join with one presently being constructed behind the Ohio Valley Mall by the Cafaro Co., owners of the mall. ODOT then intends to extend the new highway to Mall Road.

“When the matter is voted upon Wednesday, it will become a binding settlement,” Commissioner Mark Thomas said. “Until we take formal official action, we don’t want to comment beyond that. The good news is … we are satisfied.”

Commissioner Ginny Favede did not immediately return calls seeking comment.