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Thread: Need help with Rite Aid trying to destroy my block

  1. #1
    Member
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    Need help with Rite Aid trying to destroy my block

    Hi, I live in a small town in nw Ohio, called Bryan, OH. Anyhow, a developer is trying to rezone 4 houses on my street so that they can tear them down and construct a 15k sq ft Rite Aid. This would leave 3 homes standing on this block of the street, mine being one of them. The residents here on the street are sick about this. It seems to be moving forward in the Planning and Zoning meetings and the City Council meetings, even tho we have been trying to fight it tooth and nail. We have set up a website that trys to explain our position, could any of you please check the site out and give me some advice on what to do next:

    Here's the website: http://www.friendsofbryan.org/

    and here's our posting forum that explains more about our plight:
    http://friendsofbryan.org/phpbb/


    Thanks for your help!
    Jackie

    Moderator note:
    Gedunker

    Welcome to Cyburbia, Jackie. Please understand that our rules prohibit multiposts of threads. The other thread has been deleted.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 25 Feb 2007 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    I like the images in your power point, but that is about it. I would suggest not using the power point as a way to lecture your city officials - - they will hate it. Instead, focus on from-the-heart testimonials from real citizens that will be impacted by this development.

    Combating corporate 'architecture' (I use the term loosely) without adopted design guidelines is a tough battle. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I'm with TOFB. You can assume city officials know which properties would be town down, and what a Rite-Aid looks like, what the pros and cons are, etc. I think your best bet would be to keep it short and to the point, or you'll just annoy them with your long-windedness, and they'll be less receptive to listening to your plight.

    Find out what the Findings of Facts, or standards, are that they are suppose to consider with each zoning change. The Planning/Zoning office should give you this information. Usually these are things like:

    How the zoning change would affect public health, safety and comfort of residents;
    How it would affect neighboring property values (I've even seen appraisers testify on behalf of neighbors);
    How it would affect traffic congestion; etc.

    There should be a list of these types of things, that the board or commission is suppose to consider, one by one. And how they honestly answer those questions should lead them to recommending approval or denial. I would recommend that you limit your presentation to addressing these Findings of Facts, maybe touch on your personal story or the story of the neighborhood, as long as you keep it short, and that should be it.

    Make it clear that this isn't just a case of NIMBY (not in my backyard), but rather you have the entire community in mind. When neighbors say "I just don't want it. I want to live by homes only, just because..." it tends to turn the officials off.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    A neighborhood in my fair 'Burgh found itself going through the almost exact situation with a re-zoning and residential tear-down to make room for a Walgreen's. I'm not at liberty to speak at length about it on a public forum, but after a long period, the neighborhood and the developer were able to come to a compromise of sorts. I'd suggest looking over This Blog, which chronicles the process, and then contacting the people at the neighborhood association to get some strategy pointers.

    Feel free to PM me with any other questions as well.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    That's a shame to take those houses and break up what seems to be a cozy residential area (according to your pictures on your site). All I can say is the residents need to come out in force and you need to be unified in your protest. If you concentrate on how the use does not match the surrounding uses aka residential neighborhood, just as if someone wanted to build a house that was not fitting the current zoning but can prove it fits, you might have a leg to stand on. Could you work with the Rite Aid to get it designed to 'fit' in the neighborhood scheme? Could they tone down the size a little? These are alternatives if the Rite Aid is deffinetly here to stay.

    Good luck in your fight.
    @GigCityPlanner

  6. #6
    NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY. If the friends of Bryon are so concerned, buy the properties.

    Moderator note:
    Please don't engage in name calling. On here, "NIMBY" is a four letter word. - Mastiff
    Last edited by Mastiff; 26 Feb 2007 at 4:56 PM.
    Forechecking is overrated.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'll echo the comments of others. Don't paint the picture of the "big, bad, chain store" coming to destroy the community. Looking over the property values you listed, I suspect that the city is very interested in getting in a national chain who can anchor a revitalizing commercial district. I would advise an approach that starts from a place of agreement...

    ...we are happy to see that a national chain like CVS is interested in serving our neighborhood....

    Following that, I'd recommend outlining your concerns...

    ...we do not believe this is the right location for the store, however, because it will disrupt the residential neighborhood, yada, yada....

    Then I'd give them an alternative...

    ...the city's master plan encourages redevelopment at an intersection a block north....

    Lastly, I'd be prepared with a compromise position...

    ...if the city is determined to approve the rezoning, then at a minimum, we want to have the following design criteria met....

    "Us versus them" inflammatory language, threats of lawsuits, and similar tactics make politicians and appointed officials put up walls. Don't go there! They won't listen, and they will become determined to fight it out. Most of them have a much harder time when confronted by a rational and reasonable approach.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Cardinal has excellent advise. Work with them, not against them. A mistake I made early on.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that presentation is grossly misrepresenting what is going on here.

    Honestly, i'd have a hard time taking serious anyone who who refers to Rite Aid as a fortress.

    Its only 3 houses, and they obvioulsy arent "historic" as you say because they are being torn down. Why not just buy the property in question? Or the development rights?

    What does the comprehensive plan state for this area?

  10. #10
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I got to looking at the website, particularly the pictures of the existing neighborhood, and thought the view north was interesting. You could see some type of larger buildings, but it seemed like a pretty big leap over residences to get to this corner.

    Well, if you look at the Bryan zoning map, the properties in question abut a C-3 district, and the homes are in R-2. It becomes clear why Rite-Aid wants this corner, it's between the major shopping area and the majority of the residential property in the city!

    I'd use the suggestions Cardinal made, and also mention that the R-2 presently acts a buffer between the R-1 and C-3. At worst, they should make it C-1, and hopefully your code requires smaller buildings, landscaping, and such.

    If I were on your "Friends of Bryan" group, I'd advise you to remove the inflammatory wording, especially regarding your own planning commission and city people. (I agree with Jeff, when you start to use words like "fortress" people will stop listening and roll their eyes instead.) The slideshow is a much better example, but still lacks any room for compromise. While it is obvious it intrudes into an existing residential area, that area is one block from Main Street, and is between Main and Center Streets... a tough call for a council or commission.

    I'd have a fallback position for the city to accept that allows the development, but makes it more bearable for the residents.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Our neighborhood and the one next door ousted a planned Walgreen's at the end of my street. I wasn't involved due to conflicts with my job, but did provide pointers to the opposition. The arguments:

    Access would have been via both the collector road, and local roads into both neighborhoods. Our comprehensive plan strongly recommends against commercial access on local roads.

    It was not within, or near, a commercial node identified on the comp plan.

    Lighting was proposed at 20 feet and the neighborhood asked that it be lowered to 16.

    Drive-through pharmacy adjacent to single-family homes. Neighborhood asked that this be eliminated due to outside amplification of sound, people yelling into the speakers, idling with motors and radios going, etc.

    Neighborhood asked for no attached liquor store and no 24/7 operation.

    You and the other opponents should be aware of the development requirements in the zoning district that Rite Aid is seeking. Do they meet them? Do they need variances or special approvals, e.g. reduced number of parking spaces, less landscaping, etc? Are they trying to squeeze too big a project onto the site? Are they offering increased buffers or other development standards to mitigate impacts? Are they willing to work with the jurisdiction and the neighborhood? Sometimes corporations that say hey, take us as we are or screw you, can alienate county/city commissions.

  12. #12
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    Thank you all for the replies. I wish I would have found this forum sooner. Yesterday the Planning and Zoning commission voted to approve the project and now it goes to the 3rd and final reading at City Council on this coming Monday night. There is no doubt in my mind City Council will approve it. I am just so very sad over all of this and am now very disenchanted with "the system"

    I guess it's true, you really can't fight city hall

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    no 24/7 operation.
    Walgreens built in Mattoon and promised no 24/7 operation. 3 years later, they switched to 24 hr service. If they promise this, make sure it has teeth in it.

    I looked through your powerpoint presentation and had flashbacks to when I presented this at a public meeting in Mattoon. Michele Zone had this to say about my report. Two years later, I look back at the report and can really see the hostility in it. I could not see it at the time. You really need to sanitize your presentation and tone.

    After I gave my presentation that I was sure would change some minds. I had done a lot of homework and refuted almost every point the City had made in their plan. Instead I had no friends in the room, I was peppered with questions from a hostile crowd that I had just offended. The city's plan passed and none of my goals were achieved. Though I haven't taken all of MZ's suggestions, I now try to work with the City, not against them. Much like Cardinal's advice above. Offer alternative and be prepared to compromise. If you can convince them to change locations, try to make them think it was their idea and let them take all the credit. Remember your goal is to save your neighborhood, not to make your opponents look bad.

    I was going to suggest some phrases in your presentation that sound hostile, but have run out of time. Time to go to work

    Edit:
    Quote Originally posted by Jackie View post
    Thank you all for the replies. I wish I would have found this forum sooner.
    I said the same thing. Found Cyburbia the day after I gave that presentation. Good luck!!

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