Maplewood officials OK Tim Hortons: 24-hour drive-thru included

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Ward 1 Council Member Karen Wood talks with Hazel Avenue resident Howard Goldberg following the meeting.

Maplewood officials Tuesday evening passed, by a 5-1 margin, an ordinance to allow the first St. Louis area Tim Hortons cafe/bake shop to be built at the corner of Big Bend Boulevard and Hazel Avenue.

Ward 1 Council Member Karen Wood talks with Hazel Avenue resident Howard Goldberg following the meeting.
Ward 1 Council Member Karen Wood talks with Hazel Avenue resident Howard Goldberg following the meeting.

Ward 3 Councilman Shawn Faulkingham voted no. Ward 1 Councilman David Cerven was absent.

Despite the efforts of a handful of Hazel Avenue residents to alter the plan, the restaurant will operate 24 hours a day,  including a drive-thru.

Hazel Avenue resident Matt Moore said Tim Hortons had been “very insistent” on having a curb cut onto Hazel and 24-hour operation. He said a 24-hour drive-thru is the big issue.

“Back in September I went to some late-night drive thrus, and they’re loud,” he said. (Tim Hortons) “can’t modulate the volume of the patrons: the people shouting out their order, the people arguing with passengers in the car, or people with a loud radio or car.”

John Niehaus, whose house borders the Tim Hortons lot, said landscaping has been added between his house and the drive through, but a sound wall is needed.

Resident Howard Goldberg said, “As we’ve made many compromises, it would be awesome to make some kind of compromise on this ordinance, possibly allowing only the building to be 24-7, and shut down the drive-thru at night.”

Faulkingham made a motion to table the ordinance before the vote to look into the sound issue and 24-hour operation. He and Barry Greenberg were the only yes votes to table the motion.

Faulkingham had sent an email to the elected officials and many Hazel Avenue residents earlier in the day, stating he was against a 24-7 drive-thru.

“We have the power to protect our citizens and find synergy between all parties. That is what we are elected to do. We have residents that have expressed real concerns with the ordinance as it is. They have made concessions that will begin to drastically change their block from what it used to be. Let’s begin a precedence with this ordinance and make sure we take care of our citizens’ concerns more effectively.”

Mayor Jim White replied to all that the council’s vote should “be what is in the best interest of a majority of our citizens not just a few that have a personal interest in this issue. I thought we learned the lesson from the Quick Trip vote where a vocal minority told us what they thought the citizens of Maplewood wanted.”

Many of the residents went to individual officials for more explanation following the meeting.

Greenberg said after the meeting Tim Hortons obviously has to conform with the city noise ordinance, but would be hard to enforce because it would be isolated incidents.

City Manager Marty Corcoran said Tim Hortons doesn’t believe there will be a sound problem, but if there is, the city can go back and fix it. “It won’t take long to see if the sound is bad,” Corcoran said.

The new Tim Hortons is due to open in spring 2015.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Mayor Jim White’s actions on this ordinance just made his re-election an easy decision for me. There’s no way he will have my vote then if he couldn’t see the will of Maplewood residents now.

  2. I agree with most comments on here and am bothered by the Mayor’s quote. There certainly was not a majority of Maplewood residents calling for a 24 hour donut shop. This is an example of LOCAL government failing to advocate for ALL of its citizens. There should have been heavier weight placed on those neighbors’ opinions who are personally invested. With a little extra effort everyone could have won. All the council had to do was tell TH (which they would have done if it was a small business) that the residents come first. Tim Horton’s tried using a power move by saying take it or leave it and our council completely backed down. This just sets a bad precedent. If the council will treat 4th generation Maplewood’s residents like this, what will they do when 1st generation homeowners like myself have a concern?

  3. I appreciate councilmen Faulkingham and Greenberg’s engagement on this ordinance. The others and the mayor need to go. During the conversations with the council after the vote, my eyes were opened to what we are dealing with. We need representatives with 21st century mind-sets. One of the council was confused on what he voted on. Another was disagreeing with facts I know are true.
    I now understand, but don’t agree with, some of the opinions. What irks me most is why was this rushed through. Good progress was being made with compromises, but what was the hurry? To not further vet this out, table for further discussion, until the gap is narrowed is a disgrace to the Maplewood citizens.
    The Niehaus’s have been bent over a barrel and the city doesn’t care. In addition to the loss of quiet nights, they just took a hit to their property value. Nice way to treat 4th generation residents.
    Maplewood has made a huge revival over the past 10 to 15 years. The school district is a big asset, we have a thriving entertainment district and a solid tax base. With corporate favored decisions like this, we just took a big step backward.

  4. Don’t we get to vote on a new mayor in the next few years? I would definitely vote for either Shawn or Barry, and I’m sure others feel the same way.

        • There are two reasons that I voted in favor of Tim Hortons: I felt the original design was significantly modified to take the neighbors needs into consideration. I feel it was a 98% solution for the City in general, an 85% solution for the rest of the neighbors on the street and a 50% solution for the adjacent property. I voted to table the motion in order to see if we could improve the plan for the adjacent resident. Since that motion was voted down, I still felt it was a viable solution. These decisions are rarely black or white, it is some shade of gray that we as Council members have to establish our threshold and vote accordingly. The second reason that I voted in favor of Hortons is that when John Niehaus presented what I thought was a reasonable site plan to the developer, I specifically asked him if the site plan could be accomplished if he would be okay with the 24 hour operation. The answer I received was yes. The developer modified the plan to comply with Mr. Niehaus’ plan as best they could while also maintaining necessary clearances, setbacks, turning radii, and providing the largest buffer they could without compromising the operation of the business. As an architect, I felt that the developer’s consultants generally satisfied the stated program requirements. I can only assume that Mr. Niehaus either felt that the site plan wasn’t close enough to his design or at some point changed his mind with regard to my recollection of what he had told me. I like John and I sympathize with the disruption to his property that Tim Hortons will cause, but that was not the only issue I took in consideration in making my decision.

        • Barry Greenburg can spin it all he wants but the FACT is he voted YES. When the citizens were working hard on a way to make it work for everyone. Wait a minute, didn’t Barry help design Strang Donuts? Yes he did. Does he like donut shops? Then he should know that Strang opens when the bars close at 1:00am…Barry how would you like all the bar goers outside your window at 1 and 2 am getting a donut on the way home? They don’t serve donuts just at breakfast anymore. Barry, all your spin misses the one issue….its a neighborhood….with real people that have lived and supported our city for 4 generations…no spin just FACT, you voted YES. My vote for you next election will be NO.

          • Stan, I am not sure where you get your information from but Strange Donuts never stays open past midnight. You are correct that it is a neighborhood and I further realize that a neighborhood consists of more than one resident. I wish I could vote in a manner that would satisfy every single resident, but that doesn’t happen in the real world. If I tell my constituents the reasons that I vote on an issue, I don’t consider that to be “spin”. Based on your statement about “real” people that have lived her for four generations, it is almost as you feel that they should get preferential treatment. My philosophy is that every one of our citizens is “real” and deserves the same consideration whether they have lived here their whole life or just moved in yesterday. My service to the Maplewood community is not predicated on getting votes, that is why I supported, along with the rest of the Council, term limits, for not only the Mayor but the rest of the Council as well. I appreciate having a venue like 40 South News for these type of discussions and I encourage you, along with every other Maplewood citizen to attend City Council meetings, sign up for Citizen’s Academy or serve on one of the many boards and commissions that help more our city forward. Barry

    • Thank goodness he can’t run again, he is the worst Mayor by far! How dare he talk to the citizens by saying “I thought the citizens learned our lesson” . How dare he talk to the people like that. This is a our city and free country and we can voice our opinion any time we choose, maybe he should listen. There is nothing wrong with the “conversation” of an issue or a “vote” of the people. I have friends that lost their life fighting for our freedom to have a voice. How dare you Jim White.

  5. Copy of email sent to the elected officials of the City of Maplewood:
    I am appalled that the City of Maplewood has AGAIN put commercial interests in front of resident’s rights to preserve their community and homes as places for comfort and safety. The approval of Tim Horton’s restaurant last night is the second time this year that the City has quashed the voices of legitimate, tax-paying residents (Quik Trip being the first) in favor of the interests of what I fail to see as the “majority”. Mayor White, when you said that the decisions of the city government should “be what is in the best interest of a majority of our citizens [,] not just a few that have a personal interest in this issue. I thought we learned the lesson from the Quick Trip vote where a vocal minority told us what they thought the citizens of Maplewood wanted” I was floored to hear a democratically elected city official deny the rights of a “vocal minority”. Isn’t that what a central government is for? To ensure the rights of those who cannot sway by money or property or intimidation? That “vocal minority” has a right to preserve their community, and this is in the interest of the entire community! You could have at least required some concessions for a sound wall, as was put forth as a reason for temporarily tabling the vote. Yet again has the Maplewood City government failed to protect its citizens from the misguided “majority”. Although I’m not a resident, my children attend MRH schools, and we have a great interest in the progress of the City of Maplewood. I feel strongly that this is a step backward.

  6. Just because the result wasn’t what you wanted doesn’t imply that your concerns didn’t have any impact. I can mainly talk on behalf of myself and Shawn, as this project is in our ward and we attended numerous meetings with both the developer and the residents. I was impressed by the listening that went on on all sides and I think the final result is better for that interaction. I know that the other Council members also had discussions with residents and they were able to draw conclusions based on that input.

    • You and Shawn are the only ones who listen to residents so I’m not throwing this gainst you. However…..

      I mostly agree with you Barry, but my issue is that we have been expected to cave on everything for TH. We never said don’t put it there. We said we welcome it here if they will better protect their neighbor John and close at a reasonable hour. Nothing more.

      Nobody on the council would ever vote for this next to their home.

      It has been said that the city can reign in any nuisance caused by this. Great. So the burden is now on John to document and report the times this wakes his famiy up. He will report it to you and Shaun. Then in due corse the council might decide that TH needs a sound barrier or 5am to 10pm service. Can we enforce that?

      • When I say I am not throwing this agaist you, what I would like to see is the explanation of other council members and the mayor of their decision.

        We did not oppose Tim Hortons.

  7. In a previous posting, I encouraged everyone to call or email their council members with their concerns about the Tim Hortons 24 hr drive thru. I said, “The really do want your opinion.”
    I was wrong.

  8. Dear Jim White, what we actually learned with the Quik Trip issue is that our mayor doesn’t really care what the residents really want.

  9. I believe the majority of the residents on Hazel Ave are happy to welcome Tim Hortons to our neighborhood. However, we are very disappointed that our city officials did not require additional modifications. Multiple council members, including the mayor, said they represent the “majority” of Maplewood. I find it hard to believe the “majority” of Maplewood would support a national chain building a 24-hour drive-through next to any of their neighbors’ homes – without even a requirement for a sound wall.

    Hats off to Shawn Faulkingham (Ward 3) who met with the residents of Hazel Ave to gain an accurate perspective on how Tim Hortons will impact them, and consistently pushed for solutions on the council.

    But much of the rest of the council seemed all too anxious to ignore the needs of a few of us. They said, after the meeting, that if Hortons drive-through is too loud, they will fix the problem. We are counting on them, now, to stay true to their words.

    • Shawn Faulkingham is excellent, and will continue to receive my vote. Mr. Greenberg, also, agreed to table the motion for the moment. Kudos to you both.

  10. Chris,

    The City Code of Ordinances contains specific protections for the community in general and neighbors specifically in Section 14, Article VI, Division 2: Drive-in Restaurants. Amongst other provisions, Section 14-306 specifically deals with noise nuisances. These provisions can and will be enforced by both the business owner and the police department. To acknowledge that it might be difficult to enforce on occasion is due to the transient nature of the infraction, just as many other violations such as shoplifting don’t get caught every time.

    I define my role as researching and analyzing all pertinent information, and drawing conclusions that, while not necessarily satisfying 100% of my constituency, provide the most benefit to our citizenry while causing the least amount of damage to every individual citizen. That is not always achievable, but it is what I strive for. I voted to table the motion to see if we could take an 85% solution to 95%. When it wasn’t tabled, I voted for the motion because it was still a sound proposal, albeit not perfect. If there are lingering nuisance issues, the City will work to address those.

    If this represents a lack of leadership in your eyes, I will leave you to your opinion.

    Barry Greenberg, Maplewood City Council, Ward 3

    • Chris, you are exactly right.
      Just when when did anyone ever see one of those Harleys with the ear-splitting sound get a ticket?
      The neighbors will just have to live with the noise.

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