Tuesday, February 20, 2001

New Main St. zoning OK'd

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The Planning Commission on Monday unanimously passed a controversial zoning measure for the part of Main Street between B and F streets after a three-hour public hearing.

        City Council has final say on the matter, which is the result of nearly four months of work by a committee of property and business own ers.

        Foes say the proposed zoning change is too restrictive and is being rushed. Proponents say the new zoning will help preserve Main Street's aesthetic qualities.

        Support to change the zoning on Main Street from B-2 Community Business District grew last fall after business owners and historic preser vationists learned a developer was eyeing the property for a retail chain pharmacy. A chain pharmacy would have meant razing six structures, including the historic Burg's Building.

        Since then CVS has apparently dropped plans to build a store on the part of Main Street near the Great Miami River. Now CVS is trying to build a store at a location several miles west at Main Street and North Brookwood Avenue.

        Nevertheless, Karen Underwood of the Main Street Area Association said the proposed B-4 — Urban Business Conservation District zoning — is needed.

        “This is a very positive thing that is happening to Main Street and Hamilton with regard to preserving the character and integrity,” said Ms. Underwood, who is a property owner.

        Tom Stretch, whose family owns the Burg's Building, said he is concerned that the Planning Commission's decision “went against the majority of the property owners and did not consider their concerns on this issue.”

        He also said about 60 percent of the property owners signed a petition opposing changing the zoning on Main Street. The proposed zoning, he said, would make it less attractive for outside business people to invest in Main Street because of too many restrictions.

        Hamilton attorney Jack C. McGowan, representing several property owners, said he plans to let the Council know about the opposition.


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