Plans to move the Graeter's Ice Cream store at 2555 Bethel Road to a new location almost directly across the street ran into a buzz saw of angry opposition at the Northwest Civic Association's April 4 meeting.
Residents of a condominium complex located behind what is now a Family Dollar store at 2136 Bethel Road showed up in force to strongly voice their concerns about possible noise pollution and auto emissions from a proposed drive-thru for the shop, as well as to say they're worried about car lights shining directly into their windows.
One upset resident went so far as to demand the family-owned ice cream company buy his home.
"Will you guys pay me $250,000 for my condo?" asked Jerry Hall of Bethel Park Drive. "You guys have got to be kidding me."
In the end, cooler heads prevailed and Nick Cipiti, president of the civic association board of trustees, tabled consideration of the variances needed for the relocation.
He asked representatives of Cincinnati-based Graeter's to come back in May with "counterproposals considering the concerns of the neighbors."
Any new plans, however, had better not include the drive-thru, the condo residents said. They indicated that under no circumstances would they be open to drive-up ice cream purchases no matter where on the building -- a former Rite Aid store before it became Family Dollar -- the window was located.
In a March 27 email in response to questions about the proposed relocation of the Graeter's store, the manager of an advertising firm that provide public relations services to the company, explained why the relocation request was made.
"The current landlord of the Graeter's Bethel Road location is interested in leasing the entire space," Sue Reninger of RMD Advertising wrote.
"As a result, the Graeter's family is looking at new alternatives to keep their options open. To date, nothing has been finalized. As far as the zoning request for this property, the Graeter's family is simply in the process of due diligence to ensure potential locations would meet their needs."
"They're wanting to upgrade their facility," Gregg Hothem of HGC Construction, one of the Graeter's representatives at the NWCA meeting, told the trustees.
Once Family Dollar moves out by May 1, the ice cream company was planning a "full interior remodel with significant upgrades to the facade," said Amy Drake of Architects Plus.
Attorney Kevin M. Detroy of the Cincinnati firm Dinsmore and Shohl LLP also represented Graeter's at the meeting.
Those representing Graeter's didn't get too far with their presentation before the anger of the condo residents boiled over into complaints, particularly to what they felt was short notice about the meeting.
Hall said he wanted to enjoy the tranquility of his home, not listen to people ordering ice cream
"I'm concerned about noise pollution," said Ellen Moore Griffin, a Lakes at Bethel resident. "I'm concerned about vehicle emissions. I'm concerned about lights. I'm concerned about hours of operation."
Marilyn Goodman, chairwoman of the civic association's graphics and zoning committee, noted the exact text for what Graeter's would need to make the move still was being negotiated with city officials.
The negotiations include possible variances to the number of parking spaces required as well as the one for the drive-thru.
"I just don't think there's enough here," said board member Alyson Miles. "We're too much in the planning stages."