Maplewood officials talk Tim Hortons hours, traffic

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Hazel Avenue resident John Niehaus shows his plan for an added buffer to city officials.

Maplewood City Council took on issues that Hazel Avenue residents have with a Tim Hortons restaurant going in at the west end of their street Tuesday in a work session that followed the regular meeting.

Planning and zoning had OK’d the permit, but sent a letter to the council outlining some sticking points: traffic flow on Hazel, a double-wide drive-through within feet of the house at 7461 Hazel, and 24-hour operation.

The Hazel residents agree they want the street blocked off at the west end, which would eliminate Tim Hortons traffic on their street. City Manager Marty Corcoran said that’s a city issue and it could be done.

The other points weren’t as cut-and-dried.

Faulkingham said the CVS pharmacy has a provision for 24-hour operation, but that traffic is far from 7461 Hazel. He said he’d like Tim Hortons to be closed 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.

John Hiehaus' house, at 7641 Hazel. He says this old photo shows that there was once a house where Tim Hortons would like to build.
John Niehaus’ house, at 7641 Hazel. He says this old photo shows that there was once a house where Tim Hortons would like to build.

“Would I want my house where his is, the way this is designed? No way,” Faulkingham said. “They still can do everything they want to do, and make plenty of money, with a few changes.”

Mayor Jim White wasn’t for telling a business what its hours should be and council member, David Cerven agreed. Council member, Barry Greenberg said if there was a sufficient buffer between the restaurant and 7461 Hazel then 24-hour operation would be OK.

White said there’s precedent for residential next to businesses in Maplewood (he said he grew up on Walter Avenue that bordered light industrial), but Greenberg said it mattered to him if zoning had changed during the ownership of a house.

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Owner of 7461 Hazel, John Niehaus said he’s the fourth generation to live in the house, and there was once a house west of his, where the empty lot now is.

Niehaus had redrawn the site plan to add a 20-foot buffer at the border of his house and showed the drawing to council members, White, and Corcoran after the work session.

Corcoran said he would be happy to meet with the developers to talk about hours, a buffer zone and traffic flow.

No vote was taken, and Faulkingham said he didn’t want to vote until all the details are worked out.

55 COMMENTS

  1. I hope the City Council will come to a conclusion that works for both parties and that does not create hostility in a peaceful neighborhood. I understand the City wants businesses that will produce revenue for the city, but in an established neighborhood they should strive to be good neighbors with all living there. A little bit of understanding now can lead to a good business later. How important are happy neighbors? Happy neighbors will be happy customers.

  2. Mr. Niehaus is offering a very generous compromise. If I lived in his house, I would be outraged that the City of Maplewood would even consider allowing a drive-through right next door to my residence. His family was there first…and for four generations, no less. I think the City of Maplewood needs to reassess their approach to zoning.

  3. I can’t imagine any resident of Maplewood would be happy having a drive-thru 20 feet from their house. It sounds to me like Mr. Niehaus is being very generous and is willing to compromise with the City. The City needs to take into consideration what impact this would have on daily living for the occupants of that residence. Please respect the rights of Mr. Niehaus.

  4. Consider there is a viable solution that would appease both the home owner, Mr. Niehaus, and the proposed business, I see absolutely no reason it should not be accepted.

  5. I love that Tim’s is coming to Maplewood, but I was surprised by the drive-thru. I’ve been in several Tim’s locations in Canada, and the ones in the cities are often in dense, mixed-use neighborhoods, but they don’t have drive-thru windows. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Tim’s with a drive-thru. And it’s not just a donut place. They serve proper lunch with sandwiches and soup, so it could easily stay busy 24/7. And late night options in Maplewood are basically Tiffany’s and Steak n’ Shake. Another, slightly healthier, option would be great. Having a business right next to you is always a possibility in Maplewood, because let’s be honest, it is not the isolated village of 9,000 some residents wish it were. It’s part of a busy metropolitan city, and with that comes urban density and businesses next to houses on certain streets, which Mr Niehaus seems to embrace. It’s part of living that close to Manchester or Big Bend. And that intersection is going to be busy forever. We might as well concentrate that particular strain of commercial development there instead of letting the space go fallow or having corporate things invade our more desirable locations. It’s a bummer that it’s so close to the schools, but there was no going back once the White Castle went in. That space has gone from a car lot to a CVS and possibly a Tim’s. Seems like an improvement. Still, I don’t understand why a Tim’s needs a double-wide drive-thru. I was hoping for something more restrained…more Canadian.

          • The ECC school building is behind Steak N Shake. Volvo dealer to the West. Appartment building across the street to the East over 100ft away from that drive thru as opposed to 20ft in the proposed case at Tim Horton’s.

            This plot used to be houses many years ago as evidenced in the photo John shared. It has een a car dealership[ with no activity after normal 9-5 business hours. Going to 24/7 is too great an encrochment on the residential area.

  6. I am against the location like so many others who have posted before me. Quick trip has already made it dangerous to drive north through that intersection, with cars darting out in rush hour. Now to have to case the same thing with of there will be a nightmare. I agree with the suggestions of using the old quick trip location. Jim White, you do need to consider the residents when determining the hours of operation of a business.

  7. It’s all about the money from the business. It always is. Happened in St. Peters, mayor was getting vacation trips and kickbacks from businesses to allow constructions and zoning changes. I’m sure there is some money in the pockets of the mayor and city council from the business if they let them build here. They don’t care about one guy long term resident or not, that isn’t going to send them off to Maui.

    Would be nice to see our elected officials do the right thing for a change instead of thinking of themselves.

  8. There was an article that Doug- our local historian, did about business’s taking over Maplewood homes. Historic homes are being torn down and can’t be replaced. Don’t we have enough? Perhaps that’s not the thinking of counsel. As everyone else said, there are re-elections.

    Bottom line, Maplewood is not considering their resident’s quality of life and allowing business’s to thrive over it’s citizens. That being said, if a Tim Horton’s is considered for that tiny little spot, what’s next? Will more business come in and take over more neighborhoods?

    Bad idea. The traffic there is bad enough. Cars fly through Big Bend to get to Clayton- – there is the high school and the ECC should be considered-especially since that will be a primary morning destination.

  9. Mr. Niehaus is being extremely accommodating with the council and the chain. Sounds like bad business to me if they won’t consider working with their neighbor next door and long time homeowner and taxpayer to me.

  10. Though this proposed location is going to impact Niehaus most, its going to cause a (negative) ripple effect to so many others when you consider aesthetics, traffic, noise, home values, safety, etc. Hope this neighborhood appreciates the efforts of what appears to be one residents voice against both local government and big business. Think I’ll try recruiting Niehaus to MY zip code! Both residents and city counsel members alike need to wake up and realize what’s truly important to your community – your home of Maplewood. Consider giving this chain restaurant a tax break to reside in an existing vacant building, there are plenty to choose from. Look for a win win solution. You’re way off the mark presently.

  11. “The mayor wasn’t for telling a business what its hours should be.” Love that. Isn’t that kind of exactly what a mayor and city council does through local ordinances? I understand the mayor says he grew up by light industrial but how is that relevant? Would he stand for it now where he lives? If so, good for him, but I wonder. Let’s hope some common sense breaks out here. If Mr. Niehaus is willing to work with the local government on this and compromise, I would think they should bend over backwards to accomodate him. Otherwise, elections are always on the horizon.

  12. I can’t imagine living next to any kind of drive-thru, so the fact that Mr. Niehaus is willing to even work with the business is incredibly fortunate! Working with the residents and the community is a sure-fire way to a successful business, so I can’t imagine why Tim Hortons would not take Niehaus’s proposal and run with it!

  13. I find it incomprehensible that the city council would allow a drive-thru establishment so close to someone’s home, particularly a taxpaying citizen of their community. These elected officials need to do the right thing for John and NOT allow the drive-thru. I’m certain they wouldn’t allow it if it was next to their own homes…the trash, the noise, etc., not to mention a drop in the value of their homes.

  14. I think John has a legitimate concern. People in government should support the individuals in their particular community. Maplewood needs to listen and stand behind their citizens

  15. I really hope the council members accommodate Mr. Niehaus on this. In my opinion there shouldn’t have been any consideration for a drive through in that location in the first place. All the residents of Maplewood should be voicing their concerns, letting City Council know this isn’t right.

  16. I think John Neihaus is being MORE than reasonable & quite generous in his compromise! I think it would be awful to live next door to a restaurant with a drive-thru 20 feet away. There has got to be a better solution for a long-time resident of the community. I suggest the council members think about how they would feel if it was their house!

  17. If it were me, I would be extremely upset about the noise, pollution and loss of property value. I think Mr. Niehaus has a valid concern and a viable option in his proposal to have the drive thru lane moved closer to the restaurant. I am not sure why his proposal hasn’t been accepted. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Have a little concern for the citizens of your community. They are the backbone of the community and the ones who make it a great community.

  18. I encourage the city council to reach a compromise with Mr. Neihaus and put the concerns of private citizens above big business.

  19. I find it incredible that Mr. Niehaus is willing to work with TH at all on this project. If it were my home I would be doing everything I could to make sure they weren’t there at all. His offer of compromise should receive serious consideration.

  20. This is not a matter of a resident saying NIMBY but rather, if it has to be then let’s consider some reasonable alternatives. Mr. Niehaus has every right to be outraged! Shame on the City Council for putting the interests of a “here today, gone tomorrow” restaurant chain before those of a 4th generation landowner who family has supported the community for so many years.

  21. How are there still undecided council members? This seems like a no-brainer to me. The council members need to worry about their constituents FIRST. Don’t let some major corporation come in & destroy the peace & quiet of your own neighbors!

  22. I can tell you that no matter how far away the drive thru is from the house, and/or a 20 foot wall put up, you are still going to be able to hear people. I live on Marietta, and when I have my windows open at night I can hear the people on the decks of the bars in the neighborhood and on the parking lot across the street! And that is a lot farther than next door!

  23. How about we all start using some logic around here. Any business with high traffic during the morning hours that is requiring a drive through should never even be considered at that location for the simple fact that it will create a bottle neck effect. It will create a traffic safety liability and will drastically alter the morning commute for anyone going north or south on Big Bend. Just look at what the Starbucks has done to Brentwood Blvd between Manchester and 40. I don’t believe anyone in Maplewood is against business development but you have to ensure the right business for the community is placed in the appropriate location. I don’t smell reelection for Mayor Jimmy John’s unless he decides to grow a backbone. Revenue generation can’t be the only goal and you have to see the big picture. For the same reason you don’t allow a strip club across the street from a school, you don’t allow a chain business set up shop with noise, light and air pollution outside a residents window…..it’s not appropriate!
    One, It’s not a bad location for many establishments, but a Tim Horton’s causes a logistical nightmare for anyone traveling north on Big Bend in the morning as well as a safety issue.
    Two, a drive threw that is 24-7 right outside a families window. I hope Tim Horton’s is ready for the lawsuit when the doctors diagnose the kids with asthma. And the officials the know it’s a health concern that approve it should be on the hook too.
    Three, any public official that has a say better think long and hard about what precedent this sets. This isn’t just about one business and one house. There is a reason Maplewood is a desirable place to live…don’t kill the growth before it has a chance to really begin.

  24. I did a search on the TH website of their locations in Columbus, Ohio, and 6 of 7 stand alone locations are 24 hours. By comparison, in Detroit there are 18 stand alones and only 2 with 24hr. So it doesn’t appear like a TH is by nature open all night.

  25. The council-people should imagine if they owned and lived in the Niehaus residence. Would they want a drive-thru operating 24 hours right outside their window? Would they want to leave their windows open at night? Would they enjoy being awakened by hearing (feeling) a subwoofer in the middle of the night?
    Also, a council-person and the mayor stated 24 hour service is part of Tim Hortons business model and the council should not interfere with a company’s business model. Has that council person and the mayor seen Tim Horton’s business model? Are they aware that Tim Horton’s does operate stores that are not open 24 hours? Are they aware that the local competition (Stone Spiral, Foundation Grounds, Great Harvest) are not open before 6am not open later than 9pm?
    Business growth in Maplewood is important, but it’s the residents who voted the local politicians into their positions. The council-people and mayor should favor the residents (especially 4th generation families) and not a chain restaurant.

  26. There is no need for a 24 business at that location and a drive thru that close to a home is not acceptable. The drive thru would absolutely affect the quality of life of the Niehaus family and any propositions that John has taken the time to draft in order to help lessen the amount noise, light, and air pollution in that area should be taken into consideration and adapted into the plans. City Council needs to put the needs of the residents of Maplewood first, especially those citizens that have helped to make Maplewood what it is today. From what I have heard, Tim Horton’s will make enough money at any location, and I can’t imagine that the business they would do between the hours of 12AM and 5AM is worth the disruption that it will cause the neighborhood. I love the fact that Maplewood is growing and that it is a desirable business location, but considerations for its citizens needs to be a top priority. Council members need to approach the decision as if this was going in right next to their homes because if they let this happen, down the road it may very well be a reality for them too.

  27. I am in full support of Mr. Niehaus’s stance on this along with apparently many other residents! I encourage our city council to put resident needs before new business especially if it is to the detriment of it’s neighbor. If it is a matter of decreasing the size of the drive thru then a compromise should be made.

  28. Does Maplewood really need a Tim Hortons at that location? They have an abandoned QuickTrip and Churches Chicken that needs to be occupied. I truely hope that the people voting on this actually put themselves in the position of Mr. Niehaus.

  29. The statement that a city leader is “not for telling a business what its hours should be”, is simply an indefensible position.

    First of all, the council can decide to let a business sell alcohol, if their signage is acceptable, or decide on any number of nuisance issues.

    At the same time, the police would be called to my home if I made a distubance at night because of a party.

    The message I take from their reasoning is that Tim Horton’s should be allowed to create a disturbance just outside this family’s home and near several others.

  30. No one should have to have his family exposed to the exhaust fumes, noise and activity of a drive-thru so close to his home. I have seen what Mr. Niehaus has proposed and his suggestions deserve very serious consideration.

  31. Wait, so let me get this straight. The Council voted against the school district being able to have a Parent’s Day Out Program for 2-3 hours a day in the middle of the day in a house across the street from the Early Childhood Center, because the residents on the block were concerned about extra noise and traffic. Yet, now they are willing to allow Tim Hortons to run a drive through late into the night and directly adjacent to a home?

  32. A family that has been loyal to Maplewood for four generations deserves to be supported by the community. Their lives should not be bombarded with constant drive-thru activity, lights at night coming through their windows and the smell of donuts. If Mr. Niehaus has a suggestion as to how to construct the drive-thru so that it is not invasion to his property I hope it will be considered. We simply can’t sacrifice a whole family by taking away their privacy and drastically reducing the value of their home. Come on Maplewood. Do the right thing.

  33. Why does Maplewood need 2 doughnut shops within a square mile? Let’s put a Cuban spot next to Boogaloo or how about a sports bar in the old Blind Tiger space. Who does the civic planning here? Maplewood is about the residents. Civic leaders need to listen to them first. I saw this coming, that’s why I moved.

  34. I wonder if the City of Maplewood and developers have considered there are two empty commercial buildings (the old Quicktrip and Quiznos) less than 1000 feet from the proposed location.

  35. If the councilpersons can’t protect the maplewood community then we will have to do this ourselves.
    We have saved our block before, lets save that house. It is completely absurd that some of the council are so closed minded as to not explore different options for the drive thru. The community and its citizens should always come before the wants of a business. Were talking about the health of ones family with exhaust funneling in through the windows as well as the noise and lights. The council needs to reevaluate. Simply moving the drive thru closer to the restaurant should be and has to be an option. Come on people lets see the bigger picture. Anyone reading this please do your part as a fellow citizen of maplewood and post a comment and call a councilperson or City Hall. 314-645-3600. Thanks

  36. This is entirely ludicrous. Mr. Niehaus has been a loyal resident of Maplewood for a long time. Any City Council member that would even consider allowing an all-night donut shop to be place so close to a residence should ask themselves one question, would I want this right next to my home. Does Maplewood seriously need the tax revenue from this tiny business that much? Michael L. Skinner, adjunct professor of law at Saint Louis University.

  37. if Maplewood wants to continue to grow and attract residents, it should consider not ticking off the ones that have been there for generations.

  38. Homeowners have rights!!! If a chain won’t work with a single homeowner to alter their drive-through lanes by a few feet, what’s the likelihood that they’ll work with the rest of the Maplewood community in the future? I think the City Council should require that the chain meet with the homeowner to come to some sort of agreement.

  39. Why do we need another fast food chain restaurant? Who wants a drive-thru in their side yard? This is completely counter to what is so charming about Maplewood. Gross. This should not be allowed. A mere 5 or 6 hours of not having to hear the loudspeaker? Who would want to live like that? A 20 foot buffer? That sounds pretty worthless. What exactly is a Tom Hortons going to add to the community? Some low wage part time jobs, crappy fast food? At the expense of property values for everyone on Hazel? Come on Maplewood, we are better than that aren’t we?

  40. Homeowners have rights! I hope the Maplewood City Council votes to have Hortons work WITH the community. If they can’t work with a single homeowner & alter their drive-through route by a few feet, what makes us think the chain will work with the rest of Maplewood???

  41. There is absolutely no reason why the drive thru can’t be moved to another area. Just because Tim Horton’s says it needs to be at a particular spot, it does not. Plans can be changed. Also residence do not want the street closed off, but if that is the only way traffic can be controlled, it will be a necessity because again Tim Horton’s has indicated they have to have an egress onto Hazel. Why is it that every time a business wants to come to Maplewood, the residents suffer. Aren’t families what makes up a community; not business.

  42. Why can’t they put the Tim Horton’s where that old Quick Trip is? Why put a new building up when a perfectly good building is sitting there empty? Doesn’t make sense.

  43. Can this possibly be correct? “He said he’d like Tim Hortons hours to be 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.” That doesn’t make sense to me…

    I can’t imagine a drive-through so close to a residential area. Even if they promise that the speaker volume will be low, there is no control over drive-through patrons shouting their orders at the top of their voices into the speaker. (That’s the same argument I put in front of the Council when a Doubles burger place was trying to buy the lot on the southeast corner of Elm and Big Bend, based on what I actually saw happen at the Doubles that was in U-City at the time.)

    • Thanks, Margaret. Should read (and now does) – CLOSED 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.

  44. It is absolutely ridiculous that this set up is even being considered so close to a home. Closing the street is a start toward accommodating residents (what makes Maplewood the amazing community it is) but the Council certainly should not stop there. We do not need this business to be 24/7, given the likely customers tempted by coffee and donuts in the wee hours and the rowdiness with which they’re sure to place their orders. If Mr. Niehaus has come up with a feasible alternative layout to give him a buffer, this should be the only option under consideration.

  45. A drive through feet away from someone’s home? Have we put businesses ahead of our Maplewood residents? Particularly a family who has lived there for generations? As if this weren’t bad enough – the drive through will be open throughout the night? Who among us would volunteer your home to be feet away from this?

  46. I don’t know exactly what this means: “a double-wide drive-through within feet of the house at 7641 Hazel,” but it doesn’t sound good. A drive-through like a fast-food restaurant drive-through, where someone speaks through a loudspeaker over and over, “Welcome to _________, may I take your order please”? Within how many feet of the house? 24 hours a day? It seems to me that if this goes through the use and enjoyment of his house is being taken away from Mr. Niehaus. Not to mention the decline in property-value of his house. I hope the City Council thinks long and hard before allowing this to happen.

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