McDonald's passes three of four hurdles

Everyone agrees, the neglected and rundown business space on Warrensville Center Road needs to be replaced. But some neighbors are not pleased with McDonald’s moving in.

On July 1, University Heights Planning Commission recommended to City Council to approve the McDonald’s project. Citizens Opposed to McDonald’s met on June 15 to discuss their rights as property owners in the neighborhood around the proposed site and attended the July 1 meeting. 

The citizens group organizers, Gloria and Tom Rucks, voiced concerns about increased traffic, nuisance noise and student loitering. Rucks contacted an urban planner at Cleveland State University who said adjoining property values might decrease up to 3 percent with a McDonald’s type of business. 

Police Chief Stehlik presented traffic-calming methods that can be instituted to ensure traffic patterns are not adversely affected. Although neighbors stated the traffic studies Stehlik based his remarks on were outdated, Joseph Ciuni, the city engineer explained that they are in accord with ODOT standards.

McDonald’s passed three of the four steps required to obtain final approval. In May, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved the zoning variance requested. 

The architectural review board, in step two, sent McDonald’s back to the drawing board by rejecting original plans submitted in May. The board asked for a more “urban main street” look. McDonald’s returned with new plans, which were approved a month later.

Jeri Shore, a member of the neighborhood group that helped defeat the Waterway Car Wash at this same location, said that the petition signatures she and others collected represented the concerns of the surrounding neighbors. 

City council members agreed to attend prearranged standing dates for Committee of the Whole meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Council committees historically meet as independent committees on their own. The current city council is encouraging committees to meet collectively to discuss individual committee agenda items. These meetings are open to the public and take place in City Hall, lower level. Contact City Hall to confirm meeting dates and agenda items.

Anita Kazarian, a marketing professional and longtime resident of University Heights, is a frequent contributor to the Heights Observer. Contact her at anitakazarian@gmail.com.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 12:50 PM, 07.05.2010