Monday, November 24, 2008

Mount Washington drive-through approved, but not unanimously

Cincinnati City Council approved of a rezoning that could help a Mount Washington retail property obtain tenants.

The rezoning changes a 10,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building called Corbly Station, at 2300 Beechmont Avenue, from CC-P Commercial Community - Pedestrian District to CC-M Commercial Community - Mixed District, allowing for the construction of a rear drive-through.

Cole Realty Associates requested the zoning change because they have had difficulty attracting tenants since beginning to market the newly-built property in December 2006.

With the building remaining vacant, it has begun to attract vandals.

But both Councilmembers Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel voted against the ordinance, saying that the rezoning goes against the pedestrian-friendly character for Beechmont that the Mount Washington Community Council (MWCC) is trying to achieve.

"I understand the troubles the developer is having with leasing the property, especially with the condition of the economy," Ghiz says. "The mission, however, of the Mt. Washington Comprehensive Plan was to take the necessary steps today to help create that pedestrian environment tomorrow. To allow another drive-through establishment in that area goes directly against that mission."

In January, the MWCC initiated a plan to reshape the City's zoning code to align better with the recommendations of the comprehensive plan, which sought to create more pedestrian-friendly development along Beechmont Avenue and to stimulate economic development in the business districts.

City council approved several of those zoning changes in September, and continues to investigate how to reconcile the need to keep automobile traffic moving with the need to accommodate those traveling by foot.

"Last month, for example, we asked the Administration for a report on what traffic calming measures can be made to meet this end," Ghiz says. "Our thoughts were that dedicated bicycle lanes, on-street parking, landscaped medians, and so on, would help dramatically draw the many residents living around the district to visit the shops and restaurants without their cars."

Corbly Station's new zoning is now similar to that of surrounding businesses with drive-throughs such as U.S. Bank, National City Bank, Wendy's, and Gold Star Chili.

Previous reading on BC:
Rezoning for drive-through could bring tenants to Corbly Station (11/17/08)
Mount Washington rezonings seek compact, pedestrian-friendly development (9/18/08)
Beechmont and Roxbury photo update, 10/29/07 (10/31/07)
Retail space to begin soon at Beechmont and Roxbury (7/26/07)
Mount Washington: 2312-2316 Beechmont Ave (4/8/07)