Thursday, April 8, 2004

Developer drops plans for Clifton restaurants



By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLIFTON - After strong resistance from dozens of residents, developer Jack Brand has withdrawn his plan to put two restaurants - including a drive-through - in Clifton's business district.

The plan would have required the demolition of the Anderson, Baiter and Sahnd funeral home on Clifton Avenue, which many residents want to preserve. A hearing before city planners Wednesday on the proposal was canceled.

"We were not at a point in what we were doing to really go forward with the hearing," Brand said. "We wanted to give ourselves a little more time with planning and work with both residents and potential tenants. We will resubmit something in the future."

Brand, a custom builder and former president of the Clifton Town Meeting, the neighborhood association, has a contract to buy the funeral home. His proposal called for two new buildings, one 1,800 square feet, the other 4,400 square feet with 32 parking spaces.

He had said he would not develop traditional fast-food restaurants on the property. But some residents protested the idea of a drive-through restaurant.

"This is a huge victory for the citizens of Clifton," said Marilyn Hyland, a long-time Clifton resident. "We want proposals that honor the pedestrian-oriented, village feel of the neighborhood. All of us made it very clear that we were disappointed with Jack's proposal."

Hyland said environmental quality zoning regulations that went into effect the day after Brand applied for a demolition permit prohibit a drive-through restaurant in the neighborhood.

Brand is expected to discuss alternative proposals for the site at Monday's 7 p.m. community council meeting at Annunciation Church Parish Center on Clifton Avenue.

Clifton is known for an epic fight it picked in the 1980s with a developer who wanted to put a Wendy's restaurant into the old Esquire Theatre on Ludlow Avenue. That case went to the Ohio Supreme Court, which upheld Cincinnati's right to ban new businesses for aesthetic reasons.

Email kaldridge@enquirer.com




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