On June 20, the Kent City Planning Commission denied the site plan proposed by LRC Realty for a plaza to be built at 1005 E. Main St. The three- unit building was to include a drive-thru coffee shop, probably Starbucks.
The commission's major reason for denying the plan was public safety. They were concerned about the increase in traffic that would be generated by the drive-thru at the intersection of Luther Avenue and East Main Street, the highest crash corridor in Portage County. They also expressed reservations about the internal drive-thru traffic pattern that would send exiting traffic on to the residential streets that surround the property on three sides. The residents of the Crain to Main area, University Heights, and University Woods, all voiced their concerns about the safety of their neighborhood streets at the Planning Commission's public meetings. Fortunately, their voices were heard.
LRC Realty's site plan also called for the clear cutting of nine "century" trees on the property, a violation of Kent's city ordinances. The developer did not demonstrate how preservation of these trees was a hardship for them. Nor were they willing to modify their plan to save some of the lot's trees. Thus, the Planning Commission was within its right to deny the site plan.
The citizens of Kent should have confidence in the city's ability to defend the Planning Commission's decision in the appeal that has been filed by LRC Realty against the city of Kent. We who opposed LRC Realty's plans applaud the Planning Commission for its decision to place the safety of Kent's citizens first.
Paula A. Treckel