Zoning dispute keeps McDonald's boarded one year after fire - WSMV Channel 4

Zoning dispute keeps McDonald's boarded one year after fire

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It has been called an eyesore in one of Nashville's busiest parts of town. The McDonald's restaurant on Broadway caught fire almost a year ago and is still boarded up.

Now, a disagreement over designs for a new building may be causing the holdup.

"It's an eyesore, and they need to do something with it," said Nashville resident Roger Kleineweber.

"Everyone thought it was under renovation. That's what the sign said, and it's sat vacant for so long," said Gaines Sturdivant, who works downtown.

The McDonald's restaurant caught fire after an electrical box malfunctioned.

At first, its owners planned to renovate within a month, but then decided tearing it down and rebuilding with a contemporary look was a better option. The only issue was a completely new building would have to follow new downtown building guidelines.

The city is now requiring that they build the new structure closer to the street.

It is all a part of what's called the downtown zoning code. It took affect two years ago, requiring new buildings to be located no more than 10 feet off the property line. The intention is to make business like McDonald's more pedestrian friendly.

"Downtown is becoming more residential, and it's becoming more walkable. You have 300-plus apartments that have gone up a few blocks from here. And one of the purposes of the downtown zoning code is to make the area more pedestrian friendly and have it not be just about cars," said Craig Owensby, with the Metro Planning Department.

McDonald's applied for an exception to the rules, concerned the new urban-style requirements might reduce business from cars coming through, but the city points out a drive-thru would remain.

They also say the model has worked in other major cities.

Channel 4 News attempted contacting the owners of the McDonald's, but the calls were not returned. They are expected to go before the planning commission sometime in November, and it is not clear if they will ask for another exception or change their plans.

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