Plan outlines ways Middletown can upgrade downtown
Combs said the Historic Commission approved the demolition of both buildings and proposed wall signage. However, the commission denied the building materials for the proposed building because it was CMU block, which is man-made and not natural stone, and denied a proposed pole sign for the business, because they are not permitted in UCC Districts, she said. Combs said the commission also denied the site plan with the proposed parking in front and on the sides because it did not comply with required zero feet setback as required in UCC Districts.
A number of downtown property owners and stakeholders have raised objections to the request.
“… (T)he development needs to complement the City and be in keeping with the character envisioned for our downtown,” said Phillip Harrison, president of Downtown Middletown Inc. in a statement last week. “Our concern is not that O’Reily’s is planning to build in Downtown Middletown. Our concern is that we do not feel the specific facility, as proposed, is complementary to the rest of our historical downtown and the requested variances are not necessary for O’Reily to successfully develop the site. If approved as requested, the variances will set a bad precedent for future developments Downtown.”
What type of businesses have opened in downtown Middletown?
Mike Robinette, owner of the new Liberty Spirits distillery, said, “If they want to be downtown, they should do it in compliance with the zoning code… We welcome them but we want them to do it within the zoning code.”
If the city Board of Zoning Appeals approves variances that were requested and denied by the Historic Commission, O’Reilly will still need to get Historic Commission’s approval before being able to proceed with building the store,” Combs said.
Should the BZA deny the variances, the developer could take the matter to the Butler County Common Pleas Court for resolution.
Middletown City Council is currently reviewing an update to the city’s zoning code as well as a new master plan for downtown.