Last night, the City of Troy’s Planning Commission unanimously approved McDonald’s proposal to build a restaurant on the Corner of Hoosick and 15th Street. McDonald’s approval seemed to be a result of simply outlasting the opposition by expressing a willingness to continually work through the comments they received over the 18 months their proposals have been before the Board.
The result is that I believe is that many people, including members of the commission, were willing to give up their objections because McDonald’s kept coming back with revisions that showed that they were “trying” and “listening.” To their credit it’s an effective technique, and I bear Mickey D’s no ill will. It’s not as if one more “drive-thru” or strip mall is going to change the character of that stretch of Hoosick.
However, I do find it objectionable that McDonald’s proposal failed to meet any number of design standards normally applicable to the site. See this page from the Planning Commission Agenda regarding necessary waivers to the accepted “Design Standards.”
Why even bother to have standards if we’re not going to enforce them? Would the standards be enforced against a future American Troyalty SWAG shop? (Short answer: Of course). When challenged on the issue by a member of the commenting public, the Commission was apologetic, but took the politically bold and principled approach of blaming the previous administration, claiming the prior Planning Board’s “preliminary approval” bound their hands, but that in the future, such a proposal would never be approved. I’m not sure I believe that their hands were bound, and I’m not sure I believe they’d be willing to stand up to similar proposal in the future.
Like many products of compromise and negotiation, the end result is facially absurd to those unfamiliar with the back-story. McDonald’s “Achieved” the design standard of a front building setback of less than ten feet by proposing the construction of a fake wall abutting the sidewalk (they made no attempt to achieve any of the remaining 11 requirements). Cars will now enter the drive through via an alleyway of sorts, the building on their left, and a fake wall to their right, with Hoosick Street just beyond the fake wall. The fake wall will be connected to the building by a series of beams above, and will have a “window” of sorts.
I’ve done my best to replicate the rendering above using my MS Paint ability. If it looks like shit, it’s only partially my fault. Take it up with McDonald’s.