Hamilton planning commission OKs planned Starbucks

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The matter will now go before Hamilton City Council for consideration

The Hamilton Planning Commission gave its OK to a planned Starbucks behind Walgreens on Ohio 4, though some residents wanted to make sure better fencing around the property would be installed.

There were nearly 20 conditions added to the Final Development Plan and Specific Use request, including working with neighbors to the west of the site on a new privacy fence, all landscaping must be reviewed and approved by the city’s arborist, and property must be cleared and trash and debris must be removed.

“The city of Hamilton wants the service, the community wants the service,” said Mike Gilbert of Development Management Group, LLC.

MJM Architects has designed a planned 2,265-square-foot Starbucks with a drive-thru, which is projected to cost $1 million, according to plans submitted to the city. Gilbert said Thursday afternoon it could take eight to nine months to complete the project if approved by Hamilton City Council.

The proposed Starbucks would be located at 105 N. Erie Blvd., a 1.25-acre parcel owned by Ed and Karen Larkin, who own Rose Automotive land across the street.

This is the second time in as many years the applicant has approached the city with a Starbucks proposal. The first proposal was to use two-thirds of the Rose Chevrolet lot, with the remainder for vehicle storage for the car dealer, which is across Ohio 4.

The current plans show the proposed building oriented on the northern end of the site, nearest to Walgreens at the corner of Ohio 4 and High Street. It calls for a right-in, right-out entrance for southbound Ohio 4 traffic, but there is no access for northbound traffic. A secondary entrance into Starbucks would be through Walgreen’s parking lot.

The plans were submitted to the city’s building department and the land is zoned as Business Planned Development, or BPD, and required a review by the planning commission.

The primary concern of many residents in the Dayton Lane neighborhood and Campbell Avenue is the potential for trash and the need for a better fence than exists currently on the Rose Chevrolet lot. Most of the fencing is a shadowbox with some areas being chain link.

Diane Combs, of Dayton Street, said she and several of her neighbors see the fencing as a “major concern” as there is an ongoing trash issue. She also fears the landscape plants will be “another spot for debris to accumulate.”

John Brock, of 1025 Campbell Ave., whose property abuts the proposed project property, said the “never-ending flow of trash” comes from the east side of the fence, and “tried for years to stay on top of it, but the last few years I just gave up.” He’d like to see a 12-to-15-foot tall fence believing that would stop most of the trash.

The developer said it will be a 6-foot tall solid fence, and conceded that they may have fewer plants “because quite frankly there’s no reason to have out as much as we have planned.”

In the motion for approval, the planning commission amended the fencing condition, indicating it will be a privacy fence and approved by the planning department.

And as for trash, Gilbert they’ll take responsibility.

“When we do a project, we’re going to be responsible for everything that’s on our property,” Gilbert said. “That’s who we are. We take pride in maintaining our facilities, and we’ll do that.”

Cleanliness of the property is also one of the conditions of the plan approval.

Another issue is the traffic concern Starbucks would attract at the already busy intersection, and there is access to Stewart Street from Walgreens.

The city purchased property on Stewart and will make it available for parking, and the city is looking at ways to address the potential traffic issues, which includes looking to make 10th Street a one-way street.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen (with traffic) until this facility is open,” said Planning Director Liz Hayden, adding that any traffic issues will be corrected. She also said the city is “actively working on a plan for Stewart Street.”

The proposed Starbucks would be the third coffee shop within a couple of blocks of the area. The Fringe is at 918 High St. and Biggby Coffee is at 1055 High St. Another coffee shop isn’t far as True West is across the High-Main Bridge at 313 Main St., and is a staple for coffee drinkers in Hamilton.

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