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Joe costs city $20 grand

Its’s always been known there’s no love lost between Joe Mentor and the city.

The city finally admitted they feel the same way.

Developer Joe Mentor’s battle to keep Albertson’s from locating on Wheaton Way near Sheridan Road not only cost the city $19,220, but might make businesses think twice before locating here, a city memo contends.

The document, circulated to city council members, the building and planning department, and the press, details Mentor’s actions since Jan. 24, 2001, and contends city employees have spent 445 hours on his appeals and information requests.

“The amount of money the city has spent in response to Mentor could have funded another half-time planner. The irony is it could have helped us be more responsive to the things he asked us to do,” said Chris Hugo, director of Community Development for the city.

The memo was the result of research during the budgeting process, according to Deputy Mayor Sherril Huff Menees, who circulated the document. She said the public has the right to know where their tax dollars are going.

“How far should we expect staff to go in taking the time and resources?” Huff Menees asked.

The extensive appeals could paint an ugly picture for businesses wanting to locate here, she added.

“We should not be asked to be put in the position of preventing competition,” Huff Menees said.

The process has also been expensive for Albertson’s, which spent $20,000 on appeals, according to Hugo.

Mentor cited traffic and safety concerns as reasons for the appeals, and he said his team gleaned lots of important information from the information requests, including that the Sheridan/ Wheaton intersection is one of the most dangerous in the city. He suggested Albertson’s relocate in the soon-to-be vacant Lowes building.

Mentor spent $50,000 on appeals. He owns the shopping center nearby, where Garguile’s grocery is located.

The final hearing for the Albertson’s project is May 21.

— Kelly Everett contributed.

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