Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adriatico's move hits snag

A plan by Adriatico's Pizza owner Tom Erbeck to move his operation to a newly-constructed building at 111-113 W McMillan Street has hit a snag after his site plan was rejected by Cincinnati Zoning Hearing Examiner Margaret Wuerstle.

"The relief is excessive and indicates that the site may not be appropriate for the proposed development," said Wuerstle in her decision, citing Erbeck's request for a variance, a conditional use, and five special exceptions for the new construction.

The variance seemed to be the major sticking point. Originally required to provide 21 parking spaces, that number was lowered to 10 by Department of City Planning and Buildings Director Charles Graves III after studies showed that spaces in the Calhoun Garage could be available for customer use on days when the Bearcats did not have an on-campus sporting event.

Erbeck's proposal included only six parking spaces, a situation that Wuerstle said could clog already problematic on-street parking and could cause vehicular safety issues on the site.

"The site circulation as proposed will not work properly and creates the potential for cars to back out onto McMillan Street," she said. "The owner has created the condition giving rise to the requested variance condition. The proposed project is new construction and the scale of the project could be reduced to eliminate the variance request for parking."

Other concerns

The conditional use would allow Erbeck to build an outdoor dining area on the building's McMillan Street side, only 97 feet from a residential district, three feet fewer than required by the City's building code.

Also not approved were three of the special exceptions, including:

  • Eighty percent street transparency: Code would require 119 square feet, while the current site plan calls for only 82 square feet. Erbeck said that number could not be increased because of dining boots and internal operations.
  • A 15-foot landscaped buffer: Required to buffer the business from adjacent residential properties, Erbeck was requesting a one-foot buffer with a six-foot high solid vinyl fence.
  • A three-foot perimeter of parking lot landscaping: Erbeck planned no landscaping.

Still a good project

Adriatico's Pizza currently leases space at 3205 Jefferson Avenue.

Despite her decision, Wuerstle said that the project had merit in that it would create jobs and replace a blighted structure with one that would double the property's real estate taxes and increase surrounding property values.

"Ownership of the property will create an incentive for continued and future investment to maintain the property for the neighborhood," she said. "The new development will allow the owner to grow his business."

Adriatico's Pizza owner Tom Erbeck could not be reached for comment.