Real Estate Update – McDonald’s in Ohio City
The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas recently reversed a decision rendered by the City of Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals which had denied a zoning permit to construct a McDonald’s restaurant in Ohio City on Lorain Avenue. The Court agreed with McDonald’s, represented by Bruce Rinker of Mansour Gavin, who successfully argued that the City’s action was clearly arbitrary and unconstitutional.
The City Planning Commission had initially denied the application, “reasoning” that the proposed development would have an adverse impact on nearby pedestrian-oriented retail uses due to a presumed increase in vehicular traffic. One year and three costly traffic analyses later (spec’d by the City’s own experts) comprehensive evidence refuted those fears. Nor was it lost on the court that officials cynically disregarded the evidence anyway.
Despite strident political opposition voiced by neighboring witnesses who crowded into both the Planning Commission and BZA hearings, the Court found that no evidence existed to show that the project would adversely impact the pedestrian-oriented character of the neighborhood. In fact, the Court held that compelling evidence proved just the opposite. Finding that the City’s zoning code had merely been used as a pretext to deny expressly-permitted uses–where neither a variance nor any other use condition was required–the Court reversed the Board’s decision. Pointedly, the Court warned that the City’s three and one-half year stranglehold on the property was plainly unconstitutional.
For more information, please contact Mansour Gavin’s Real Estate and Land Use Practice Group.
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