Wednesday, September 9, 2009

McMillan and Highland unlikely to become a fast-food vortex

A proposal to bring another fast food restaurant to the corner of E McMillan Street and Highland Avenue in Mount Auburn has little support, but will be considered by Cincinnati City Council's Economic Development Committee today at noon.

Originally proposed for the Mount Auburn Place condominium project, JFP Group, represented by attorney Tim Burke, is seeking to rezone 2442=2450 Highland Avenue to CC-A Commercial Community Auto-Oriented District.

JFP Group demolished the buildings in 2006, trying to complement McMillan Manor on the southwest corner of the intersection,

The developer was successful in getting the Taco Bell restaurant built on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Margaret Wuerstle, chief planner for the City, advised against adding yet another drive through restaurant for the intersection.

Wuerstle said that traffic counts report 19,100 vehicles on McMillan daily, and 7,510 passing on Highland.

"Historically, the southeast and southwest corners of this intersection had multi-family mixed-use transitional zoning, and has never been an auto-oriented commercial zone," she said in a memo to Council.. "Based on the Department of Transportation and Engineering comments related to the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Manual, this intersection cannot handle a new restaurant facility with a drive through."

She added that it would impact the existing character of the surrounding area, and no end user has been identified.

The CC-A zoning was needed for a drive through, setback from the street, and building transparency.

In a June 4 letter to Mount Auburn Community Council president Freeman McNeal, Burke says that JFP would draft a binding agreement with the council, promising to take immediate steps to clean up, seed, and straw the lot; installing a landscaped sign near the corner saying "something like 'Welcome to the Community of Mt. Auburn -- the Home of McMillan Manor'"; provide the community council with Phase I Environmental Reports; to donate to the community council, or any other non-profit entity, the lot it owns on Maplewood Avenue; and to keep construction dust and noise to a minimum.

The City Planning Commission did not approve the zoning change at its June 19 meeting, and the Mount Auburn Community Council has not formally responded to the request.