BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday at Boardman Township Hall to try and resolve a privacy issue between the owners of the new Dairy Queen on Market Street and the family living next door. At issue are the lights, noise and traffic coming from the drive-thru. The solution, some are saying, could be a fence.
Homeowner Meghan Perry is claiming a lack of privacy between her yard and the drive-thru.
“Any car that goes through the drive-thru, delivery trucks, anybody can see directly into our property. It’s intrusive, it’s invasive. My kids can’t play out here without people seeing what we’re doing. We can’t have a fire out here. The neighbors can’t come over anymore. There’s just no privacy here anymore,” Perry said.
“The permit that was issued for the operation approximately a year and a half ago was issued in error,” said TJ Keiran, Boardman’s new director of planning and zoning.
Keiran says Boardman’s zoning laws require speakers for drive-thrus to be placed at least 250 feet from the nearest residence. The Dairy Queen’s are 100 feet. Keiran says his predecessor made a mistake.
“When I looked into it, I immediately saw that the permits had been issued in error. We are taking steps for remediation,” Keiran said.
Ray and Chrissy Smith own the Dairy Queen.
“How is that our responsibility to correct their problem?” Ray wonders.
The Smiths say, originally, they wanted the drive-thru closer to Market Street but were told to move it.
“That’s not the look that they wanted for the North Market Business District. We did not want to do that. That was not our initial plan. We were forced to change it,” Ray said.
The Smiths were issued a permit and built their Dairy Queen.
“We did everything according to what we’re supposed to do,” Ray said.
What’s being proposed by Keiran and Perry is that a 6-foot fence be built along the curb line on Dairy Queen’s property.
“That would essentially screen so that people sitting in the vehicles are not looking down onto the neighborhood and also could avoid some of the noise,” Keiran said.
“A fence at the property line, the curb line, where the drive-thru is, about 6 feet up since it’s elevated would give us a majority of our privacy back,” Perry said.
The Smiths, however, are opposed to a fence on the curb line. They’ve proposed a retaining wall be built on the property line with a fence on top of the wall.
“There’s already a fence there. We planted 23 trees — our plan showed 21 trees. So I’m not sure why we are being drug into this. We did everything that we were required to do to get opened up,” Chrissy said.
It’s unclear at this point who will pay for a new fence should one be built.
A meeting next week will be held before Boardman’s Board of Zoning Appeals. It’s at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Two issues will be decided.
Keiran wants to revoke the permits allowing the Dairy Queen owners to keep the drive-thru operating, to which the Dairy Queen owners object. The Dairy Queen owners also want a zoning variance to allow the drive-thru to remain where it is.