McDonald's gets zoning approval to build new restaurant


April 10, 2012

Owners of the McDonald's restaurant on Brownsville Road in Knoxville have received approval from the City of Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment for a new block long restaurant to replace the existing one.

Plans outlined at a February community meeting called for a new $2 million McCafé style restaurant with a double drive-thru lane.

The franchise owners requested permission from the Zoning Board for several variances needed for a nonconforming structure containing a nonconforming use. Among the variances requested were: having less than60 percent of the length of the building's façade facing Brownsville Road being transparent; not providing a street level doorway and to allow parking between the front of the building and the front lot line.

A Special Exception was also required for a drive-thru window.

The Zoning Board noted the new restaurant will take up the entire block along Brownsville Road from Suncrest Street to Alice Street. The restaurant will also be situated on a small bluff resulting in the façade of the building being higher than the grade along Brownsville Road. The developers are unable to excavate on the current site due to the presence of limestone beneath the existing structure.

In its decision, the board also took notice the franchise owners met with Councilman Bruce Kraus and neighborhood residents to agree on several conditions.

In deciding to approve the requests, the board determined the new restaurant will not create detrimental visual, transportation, operations or health and safety impacts.

The decision also stated, "Generally, the board does not believe that the development will alter the neighborhood's essential character, negatively impact development, nor be detrimental to the public welfare because Brownsville (Road) contains many service-oriented shops, fast food restaurants and bars. Moreover, this development will replace an existing, dated, McDonald's restaurant."

However, with the approval came several conditions.

Conditions include: Removing existing on-site pay phones; Installing video camera for security; securing the premises to prevent illegal substance abuse; Turning off the drive-thru microphones when not in use; Shielding waste management receptacles and not permitting overnight collection of trash; and, maintaining the existing War Memorial, as well as manage residual litter within a one-block radius that is derivative of its business operations.

If all goes as announced at the community meeting in February, demolition work would start in May and the new restaurant will be open sometime in August.


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