A citizen’s group in Columbus, Ohio is fighting off a Wendy’s store in the restaurant’s corporate home town. Here is their statement, as sent to Sprawl-Busters: “The Olde Towne East Neighborhood Association (OTENA) in Columbus, Ohio has taken on home town corporate giant Wendy’s International over the location of a potential restaurant. Residents of the historic Olde Towne East neighborhood are in a fight with the Columbus City Council over the rezoning in their neighborhood to allow a Wendy’s drive through restaurant. “This is not just about Columbus, Ohio’s Near East Side versus Wendy’s, and a drive through restaurant on this site, but is a global issue about proper development in the interest of all community stakeholders besieged by rampant commercialism, sprawl and unwanted reach,” said OTENA member Kevin Wynn. Very similar to the issues Wal-Mart has faced recently, Wendy’s International is facing complaints from home town residents about a store location. The residents of Olde Towne East in Columbus, Ohio are up in arms over the proposed Wendy’s at 21st and Broad Streets. Olde Towne East is one of the historic, original neighborhoods in Columbus and has homes that date from the 1830’s. OTENA represents a community of diverse people of various talents, ethnic histories and abilities; this diverse community is truly united, they do not want a Wendy’s on E Broad Street. Why? 1) There are 4 Wendy’s within a 3 mile radius of the Olde Towne East neighborhood. 2) Seven illegal zoning variances were granted by the Columbus City Council with no justification 3) C4 zoning variances granted is the equivalent of a Wal-Mart in terms of impact 3) As required by law, no traffic impact study was performed prior to granting the zoning variance 4) The Columbus Compact used at least $15,000 to date in Federal Housing and Urban Development funds and grants at public taxpayer expense to underwrite development 5) Neighbors raised thousands at 11/19 Fundraiser to continue fight in courts 6) The restaurant is inconsistent with the Historic Broad Street “streetscape” & neighborhood 7) Hundreds of local residents write hundreds of letters to Wendy’s Executives opposing drive-thru and asking for injunction 8) Conflicts of interest and “quid pro quos.” The Olde Towne East Neighborhood Association has filed a lawsuit to prevent the development of the location, in spite of Wendy’s International being one of the largest and most profitable companies headquartered in Columbus. “Funds are being raised to escalate the fight and win both a Day in Court and, in the future, win an injunction against the future proposed use of the Wendy’s construction,” said OTENA member John Clarke. Residents who work for Wendy’s are caught in the middle. Do they do what is right for the neighborhood or what impacts their family financially? Needless to say, these residents have remained silent. Other Olde Towne East residents have begun a letter writing campaign to get the attention of Wendy’s executive management. Can a committed neighborhood association bring down a home town giant?
For more background on the Wendy’s battle in their hometown, go to the OTENA Neighborhood Website is “www.oldetowne.org”