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McDonald's Pursues Main Street Restaurant on Two Fronts

A McDonald's was approved for 579 Main Street two years ago, but neighbors are fighting to appeal it in court. Meanwhile, the restaurant chain is presenting a revised plan.

McDonald's fended off a court challenge of the Monroe Planning & Zoning Commission's approval of a new restaurant at 579 Main Street, but two neighboring property owners then brought a second challenge before the appellate court.

Rather than just waiting on the next court decision, Peter Gelderman, an attorney for Real Time Investments LLC, which owns the property, said McDonald's will reapply for the restaurant while addressing some alleged technical deficiencies in the original P&Z approval.

"This is a two-pronged attack," Gelderman said. "If we win in court, we will go with that approval. If not, then we'll continue with the application."

On Tuesday night, Gelderman presented a building design plan to the Monroe Architectural Review Board.

Of the lawsuit, Gelderman said the P&Z Commission had waived some of the landscaping and buffering requirements for a commercial property with an adjacent residential parcel. Two neighbors challenged that, contending that the P&Z could not waive its own regulations — and that a Zoning Board of Appeals approval would be needed instead.

Gelderman said the zoning regulations have a provision allowing the commission to waive some minor requirements. Since the original application was approved, Gelderman said the neighboring property changed its zoning to a DB1 for Meineke Muffler, so the issue no longer applies.

A Better Design

Two years ago, Real Time Investments had presented a block-shaped corporate building and the ARB wanted a more colonial design. Gelderman recalled how McDonald's would not okay revisions to the design until the P&Z later made a similar request. As a result, the ARB, which is an advisory board, never had a chance to review the latest, more colonial design.

"Obviously it shouldn't have happened, but it did," said ARB Chairman John Rosen.

Gelderman showed ARB members a sample of Cultured Stone in a sandstone beige color. This would go around the base of the building. The rest of the building would be a khaki brown hardi board with artic white trim.

Gelderman said the only yellow would be for the arches in the sign.

The building would have a standing seam metal roof.

Joyce Mumm, an ARB member, asked if the metal would be shiny and Gelderman said no, it would be brushed.

The building's mechanicals would be screened in the middle of the roof.

Nancy Steinborn, an ARB member, said she liked the materials, but not the industrial looking roof.

Fellow board member Michael Vitello agreed, saying, "I don't like the metal roof design. I'd rather see an asphalt shingle or a slate-like roof on it."

Raymond Ganser, another board member, said the roof should be black or brown, but not gray. Another color the board liked was charcoal.

Vitello also wanted the stone wainscoting to be higher than just over two feet. Instead, he thought it should be about 4"8 high.

Steinborn added that the attractive Cultured Stone should be used for the entire front facade that would be seen from Route 25.

Gelderman said he would check with his client on the ARB's suggested changes to the design and get back to them.

"This is so much improved," Mumm said of the newer building design.

Big Boy January 10, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Agreed! Lets build it and build it fast so we can start the next one. Sure, some other restaurants would be nice, PF Changs, Morton's Steakhouse, but they are not interested right now. These companies are interested. Let them build on our vacant, abandoned lots. These are the businesses that come in first as a town grows. Better offers will come behind the success of these first ones willing to take the chance, test the market conditions and willingness of the people who live in and around town to patronize these first establishments. McDonalds wants to build three restaurants in Monroe? That kind of news will turn the heads of the other more upscale restaurants to come in town. Trumbull has a Chips Family Restaurant coming in the spring of 2013 on Route 111 on the lot they are currently building on next to the Trumbull Tennis Club.
Schap January 10, 2013 at 04:27 PM
I guess all the masuk students have their part-time and summer jobs lined up for employment. I heard from someone that they were going to employ 50+ new employees. Maybe those lunch time moms that are looking for a few dollars to help make ends meet would rather drive to another town than be employed in their own backyard and be home to get the little ones from the bus stop. Based on what i see, the fast food establishment on 111 has a back-up at the drive thru quite often as Monroites run from dance to basketball who from pick-up to HOME. Build it and they will come! What wrong with adding jobs in Monroe?
Walt January 10, 2013 at 05:20 PM
P and Z doesn't mind having McDonalds there, they just expect it to look like Ruth's Chris.
Barney January 10, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Don’t you be making fun of this here planning an zoning. They be doin the right thing by keeping business out of Monroe. This be a farming community not an education loving community for interlopers. This here McDonalds idea is not gonna benefit us who be born and raised here. It be for education lovers to get their food because they be in such a hurry because they be spending all their time loving education. It not be making any sense to have a McDonalds in a farming community. We be needed this planning and zoning to be keeping business out to keep our farming roots. I be remembering when Monroe be having dirt roads now they have to pave it so education lovers can be driving their fancy cars to McDonalds. These fancy types move to Monroe and be driving taxes up then they be leaving. Now we have to build a fancy McDonalds for them. I be glad this planning and zoning be remembering their roots and saying no to new business. I know this be true because I be getting the secret emails from my connection on the planning and zoning.
Walt January 10, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Now Barn, ah think you be fergitten that thishere mac dawnalds will be supawtin our own, the farmers! Whar do you thank they be gittin the meat for dem burgers an the chickin bits dat the kiddies like so much! Sho muss be tuff shakin dem cows up for dem shakes! Whhoooooeee!

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