Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Chain store unwelcome on Main


Merchants in older buildings ask city help to fend it off

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Main Street merchants, facing the possibility of a developer building a retail chain pharmacy, met Tuesday night to discuss zoning measures that would protect its aesthetic qualities.

        Mayor Adolf Olivas, who spoke at the meeting, said a developer has inquired about building a pharmacy chain store on the north side of Main Street. He said he thinks CVS is the potential store. CVS officials did not return phone calls Tuesday.

        Karen Underwood, who bought a vacant building on North Main Street with hopes of renovating it, said she was approached by developer Bear Creek Capital LLC of Montgomery about selling her building but decided not to.

        “I felt that a drug store on Main Street between B and C streets was not an appropriate development for Main Street,” said Ms. Underwood, a board member of the Main Street Area Association, which held the meeting. “And I was disappointed that we would lose significant historic structures such as the Burg's Building.”

        Ms. Underwood, whose family also owns Richard's Pizza on Main Street, said a developer has asked property owners about selling the six buildings in the block.

        “A lot of Hamilton residents are very upset at this proposed change to one of our blocks of historic buildings,” said Dave Loeffler, president of the Dayton Lane Historic District. He has contacted the National Trust for Historic Preservation to see what help or guidance it can lend to Main Street business owners.

        “I think that council will support quick action to develop standards,” Mr. Olivas said. “At least, I'm certainly hoping that they do. We'll be discussing those options Wednesday with council.”

        He said he is not opposed to development “as long at it conforms with the neighborhood's character and does not destroy it. I will not do anything to stop free enterprise, but I'm certainly going to regulate it if it's going to be a negative impact on the community.”

        Sherry Corbett, a board member of the Dayton Lane Historic District, recommended to the 80 people at the meeting that they attain local historic district zoning status because it offers more control in preventing or delaying demolition of buildings.

        Hamilton Planning Director Jim Boerke, who discussed business planned development and local historic district zoning, said either measure would take about 90 days to go into effect.

        City Council is expected to consider legislation today that would refer zoning issues for Main Street to the Planning Commission.

       



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