BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — The parties involved in a privacy issue involving the recently opened Boardman Dairy Queen were part of a public meeting Tuesday evening that lasted an hour and a half — only to decide that negotiations to reach a solution will have to continue.
On Tuesday, the public hearing was held before Boardman’s Zoning Board of Appeals to decide how to deal with the issues stemming from the Dairy Queen that opened in March on North Market Street.
“The permit that was issued for the operation approximately a year and a half ago was issued in error, and when I came on board in May of this year, they were already receiving complaints,” said Boardman’s director of zoning and planning T.J Keiran.
Two suggestions came from the hearing to deal with the bright lights, noise and traffic.
One suggestion came from Keiran, who suggested building a 6-foot fence along the curb line of the drive-thru to absorb the sound and block the light.
But the owners of the Dairy Queen — Ray and Chrissy Smith — are opposed to a fence, citing maintenance issues, customers feeling enclosed in a tight space and problems with snow removal.
“Clearly, if that fence is at the top of the hill, where is the snow going to go?” said Chrissy Smith.
The Smiths suggested removing the current evergreen trees planted between the Dairy Queen and the adjacent property of Brian and Meghan Perry, replacing the plants with 24 17-foot arborvitae trees.
Landscaper Randy Kushner testified that a fence would not work.
Both the Smiths and the Perrys agreed the problems arose when Boardman’s Architecture Review Board forced the Dairy Queen’s drive-thru to be located at the back of the lot instead of the front, where the owners originally wanted the drive-thru.
“I don’t know why we’re even here, because we got a permit. We went to the authorities that were issuing it, and they gave us a permit,” Ray Smith said. “We did everything according to what we’re supposed to do.”
“It’s a neighborhood problem. It’s not a Perry versus Smiths. It’s a Boardman problem. I don’t fault the Smiths for running their business, because they should be able to run that business,” said Meghan Perry. “We should be able to have our privacy and our home the way it was.”
The cost of the Arborvitae trees is $43,000, leaving some at the meeting to wonder if the township should pay the cost, since everyone agreed it was the township that created the problem.
In the end, it was decided to continue negotiating an amicable solution, and it will be taken up again by the Board of Zoning Appeals during a special meeting on Nov. 14.