Zoning permit appeal hearing for Boardman Dairy Queen continued
The owners of the Boardman Dairy Queen who were ordered to close their drive-thru because of zoning violations will have to wait a little longer to find out if they will win their appeal.
A hearing Tuesday night with the Boardman Board of Zoning Appeals was continued so that all parties could continue to gather information and possibly reach a resolution.
In July, the township sent a letter to Ray and Chrissie Smith, who own the Dairy Queen on Market Street, to close the drive-thru because zoning ordinances require drive-thru speakers to be at least 250 feet from any residential property.
The adjacent homeowners say the distance from their house to the speaker is less than 100 feet.
Brian and Meghan Perry are complaining of light pollution, noise and traffic problems with delivery trucks, not to mention the lack of privacy.
The Smith's say they originally designed the building with the drive-thru further away from the neighborhood, but it was rejected by the Architectural Design and Review Board. They say the township made them change it and the permit was mistakenly approved by Boardman's former Director of Zoning.
The Smith's say if they lost the drive-thru, it would cost them 60% of their business.
At the hearing, Attorney Jason Rebraca argued that the appeal is a legal issue and Boardman zoning doesn't have the legal right to revoke the permit.
Zoning director TJ Kieran gave two presentations as to why the permit was revoked and recommendations for approval for a variance that the Smith's have also applied for should they not win the appeal. Kieran included the light pollution, a lack of off-street loading and that the permit was issued in error and it should be remedied.
Both the Smith's and Perry's say the situation is no fault of their own but rather a Boardman issue. They believe the township should fix the mistake they made and come up with a solution that fits both parties.
"It's just very frustrating that we were forced to make the neighbors unhappy and I knew that we were going to have problems but you know I tried to do what the township wanted us to do and here we are in this situation," Ray Smith said. "I think the township should take responsibility, I really do, it is solely, like falls on the fault of the leadership of this township."
Potential solutions that were discussed included a six foot tall privacy fence along the curb to block the sound and light, but neither party wanted that saying it would be like, "living in a prison" and the Smith's claiming they don't want something else to maintain and feel like the fence would get damaged by snow removal.
It was proposed that large arborvitae get planted between the properties to help diffuse the sound and light. Randy Kushner with Kushners Garden and Patio spoke about planting 24, 17-foot trees to form a buffer that will offer plenty of privacy and help block sound and light.
While the Smith's are open to it, many wonder who will pay for it. Some in the meeting felt it should fall on Boardman Township.
In the end, a motion was made to continue the hearing and learn more about the arborvitae option and continue negotiating a possible solution.
That special meeting will take place November 14 at 7 p.m.