Westerville News & Public Opinion

Tim Hortons proposal

Concerns regarding turns no issue for commission

Plan for a Tim Hortons at Cleveland and Main on its way to council

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Coffee and doughnuts could be on the menu for the empty building at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and West Main Street that formerly housed Key Bank.

The Westerville Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval Nov. 19 to Tim Hortons to turn the building into a restaurant with a drive-through.

The request to rezone the property at 33 S. Cleveland Ave. from Office Institutional to Planned Community Commercial, along with a preliminary development plan, now goes to Westerville City Council for approval.

There were provisions of the approval, including that Tim Hortons will sacrifice some of its Cleveland Avenue frontage to the city for potential future improvements; that the hours of operation for the drive-through will be restricted to 5 a.m. to midnight; that the allowable setback for the building be increased to 30 feet; that only certain types of signs be used; and that signs restrict left turns onto Cleveland Avenue.

The city engineer also will have the authority to require that Tim Hortons install a "pork-chop" median that will prevent left turns into and out of the site on Cleveland Avenue after a yearlong study period if it is deemed necessary.

The planning commission went against a recommendation by city staff that a median be constructed on West Main Street between the right-turn lane and through lane at Cleveland Avenue to prevent left turns into and out of Tim Hortons.

As with the pork-chop median at the entrance on Cleveland Avenue, the planning commission voted to place a one-year moratorium on the Main Street median, allowing the traffic engineer to determine if it is necessary to keep traffic moving safely through the area.

Two commission members -- Councilwoman Diane Fosselman and Amy Koorn -- voted against the moratorium on the median.

Fosselman ultimately voted against the Tim Hortons plan in whole, while Koorn supported it.

Fosselman said she is concerned about traffic through the area. She said she does not believe signs prohibiting left turns on Cleveland Avenue are adequate, and she worries that a car waiting to turn left into Tim Hortons on Main Street could cause traffic to back up onto Cleveland Avenue.

"As soon as one car backs up there, there is no staging for another vehicle," Fosselman said of Main Street. "Something needs to be addressed there."

Other commission members, however, said traffic flows smoothly on Main Street at all times of the day and they can't see adding a median without proof of a problem.

"The times I've gone in there, I've never had any problems getting in and out of there," said commission member Gerald Domanik. "I just don't see that as a problem right now. I've never seen that as a problem. That's my concern ... that we're jumping the gun."

Even with the planning commission's approval, Tim Hortons needs Westerville City Council's approval and the OK for a final development plan before it can move forward with construction.

 

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