Foodservice Equipment Reports

Cleveland Gives Thumbs Down To McDonald’s Store

Dozens of Cleveland residents and business owners voiced their opposition to a proposed McDonald’s outlet abutting a residential area that they say would dangerously increase traffic with a double-lane drive-through.

But it wasn’t the location that led a Cleveland planning commission to veto the outlet on Nov. 15. It was the unit’s size and its geographic orientation, both key issues that McDonald’s architects and planners hadn’t been able to resolve.

The unit, which would replace an older store nearby, was to include outdoor seating, custom bike racks and a green buffer between it and the residential area. However, the property is in a shopping district with zoning restrictions designed to preserve the neighborhood’s “pedestrian-oriented character” and minimize vehicular hazards. The frontages of retail buildings on the street are not permitted to be longer than 40 feet, so that storefronts are closer together and more accessible to pedestrians. The McDonald’s unit’s front façade would measure 40 feet, but its other side is more than twice as long and facing the street with size restrictions.

McDonald’s re-oriented the building to fit the pedestrian zone prohibiting drive-through lanes, but it didn’t matter. The city’s planning commission rejected the proposal because it failed to meet the pedestrian district’s frontage requirements. The plan now moves to a December hearing before the city’s landmarks commission; if approved there, McDonald’s and its franchisee must get the initial rejection overturned. If that fails, McDonald’s can take the matter to court.

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