Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
The Metro Nashville Planning Commission denied an appeal made by a popular fast food restaurant on Thursday night citing rebuilding plans did not meet the new downtown vision of being pedestrian friendly.
At one time, it was one of the busiest places on Broadway but for the last year, the McDonald's on the corner of 12th Avenue has been closed.
The windows and doors remain boarded up after it was damaged by fire in December of 2011.
A McDonald's spokesperson told Nashville's News 2 the owner wanted to rebuild right away but hasn't been able to agree with the city on a design.
He said they want to construct a slightly larger building and build it in the same general spot where it is now, which is in the center of the parking lot. He argues that it works best with the business's high-volume traffic.
The city adopted a new downtown building code in 2010 that requires the structure to be built to the street, either along Broadway or along 12th Avenue, with parking in the rear.
The downtown code is meant to shape downtown into a more urban environment. The idea is to make all areas of downtown more "walkable" and pedestrian friendly, which helps stimulate residential development.
If the building is near the road, it's more accessible to pedestrians.
"We did not feel that we could approve demolition or rebuilding along the lines of a suburban prototype without being drastically out of sync with the zoning," said David Koellein who was part of the design committee.
Craig Owensby, spokesman for the Metro Planning Commission added, "It has to do with making it a more urban, walkable environment and that building code has been really successful so far."
The city denied McDonald's request in August then McDonald's appealed the decision.
"It's sad. At the end of the day this is what we do day in, day out. We've been part of the community for 30 years. We just want to serve the public the best we can," said restaurant owner Ted Bertuca Jr.
Attorney Tom White said McDonald's will make a decision on what to do within 60 days.
He did not rule out a further appeal on its plans to the Metro Board of Zoning appeals.