Middletown’s Board of Zoning Appeals last week unanimously approved a variance for a taller sign for a new Waffle House restaurant.
The variance will allow an additional 38 feet to the 10 feet currently allowed by the Middletown Development Code.
The board approved the recommendation of city staff, which said the sign should be approved because of the distance from Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange and the topography of the new restaurant’s location at on Cincinnati-Dayton Road just south of Ohio 122/Roosevelt Boulevard.
Restaurant officials say they need a tall sign because of the topography around the site in order to attract traffic around the I-75 interchange, which is critical for the success of the restaurant.
Walter Barineau of Waffle House said officials have been looking for a suitable location and thinks this site will be “a dynamite location but it will be imperative to get motorists off the highway.”
He said the motorist information signs with restaurant logos along the interstate highway and ramps were full because Ohio does not bump them off the signs.
There are also several tall free-standing signs for various restaurants and businesses in the general area.
No one spoke in opposition of the request at Wednesday’s meeting.
After Thursday’s vote, Barineau said it was “fantastic” that the project could move forward.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
Barineau said the company has been looking for a site in the Middletown area since 2011.
“We’re looking forward to having a store in Middletown again,” he said.
Barineau said no construction date has been scheduled because the project is not yet fully permitted. He said construction will be determined by the company’s schedule and that there are a number of units currently being planned or under construction.
In May, the BZA voted 3-2 for a variance to erect a 50-foot sign at its proposed location on South Dixie Highway just south of Ohio 122. Because of the requirement of four votes to enact a variance, the request was denied. Two members of the seven-member board, David Kash and Fred Gibson, were absent from the May 1 meeting. At Wednesday’s meeting, member Dan Ward was absent.
Waffle House had a location at the I-75/Ohio 122 interchange before the property was acquired by the Ohio Department of Transportation for interchange improvements more than a decade ago.
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