The fate of an Asian-oriented grocery store will be decided by City Council next month, but the plan doesn’t have the support of the city’s planning commission.
The Fairfield Planning Commission voted Wednesday 6-1 against the request of changes to a former office building at 4630 Pleasant Ave. and allow it to be used for a small specialty grocery store. That decision will be the commission’s recommendation to City Council, which will vote on the changes to the building.
The owner of the building is seeking approval to make two minor modifications to the building — adding a couple of doors and removing windows — to transform the former chiropractic office building into a small grocery store that would serve 40 to 50 people a day. City Council’s approval is required as the building is part of a city-approved planned unit development, which was OK’d in 2001.
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The building is on the same lot of the Walgreen’s at the southeast corner of Symmes Road and Pleasant Avenue, and is on the border with the city of Hamilton. Most of the area is residential, with a business (including Walgreen’s) at each of the four corners of the Symmes-Pleasant intersection.
Ron Roberto, Re/Max real estate agent for client Narayan Dhungel, who lives in Cincinnati and is native to Nepal, said the grocery store “is going to appeal to the Asian market,” and likely will have some staple supplies, such as toiletries, similar to the neighboring Walgreen’s, which is also a part of the PUD.
Fairfield resident Jim Howell, who lives near the former office building and Walgreen’s, remembers when the city approved the original PUD. His concern is the look of the building, which was designed to have similar features as those in the city’s Village Green nearly two miles south of the proposed building.
Howell and his neighbors have concerns about the look of the building, he told City Council earlier this month.
“We’re real concern with the signage what will be up there. Some of the Asian stores we’ve seen around town, the windows are covered up with advertisements,” he said. “We worked very hard in 2001 … so we didn’t have to look at that (signage). We want the look to remain the same.”
Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman said the recommendation to City Council goes back to the original PUD zoning approved nearly 20 years ago when the building was designed for office use.
Kathman said the commission members stated they thought the office use for that building was a “good buffer” between the retail use as the Walgreen’s and the residential folks nearby.
Kathman said it was “a tough decision” as there was a lot of discussions, and recognition the building has been vacant for the past few years.
Planning Commission Chair Scott Lepsky declined to comment.
City Council will have a second reading on the proposal on Jan. 14 and is expected to vote on Jan. 28.