KENDALLVILLE — Kendallville officials want the city to be more walkable, but sometimes, there’s just no reasonable way to put in a sidewalk.
After previously giving a partial exemption to McDonald’s from installing a sidewalk when the restaurant undertakes a major rebuild this summer, city officials came back Tuesday and granted a full exception after getting more information from the city planning department.
In December, the city Board of Works and Public Safety OK’d a waiver from establishing sidewalks on Kreuger Street, due to the sharp downward slope of the land on that side of the property. But it didn’t allow a waiver for Goodwin Place, due to pedestrian traffic in that area on the west side of the property.
On Tuesday, city engineer Scott Derby said he had been in contact with project architects who again requested a waiver for Goodwin Place, citing significant obstructions in the right-of-way where a sidewalk would need to be built.
The city requires builders to install sidewalks whenever possible with new construction projects. Derby said this summer McDonald’s plans to “be tearing down their existing building in May and rebuilding not exactly the same footprint, but basically the same footprint” at 211 W. North St.
As for Goodwin Place, the area where McDonald’s would need to install sidewalk contains at least two large utility poles, a fire hydrant and several guy-wires in the right-of-way.
“Looking south there you see a major power pole and four guy-wires that would make sidewalk installation through there tricky,” Derby said.
To the north, there’s another pole and the roadway technically also encroaches into the right-of-way, meaning McDonald’s couldn’t build a regulation 5-foot sidewalk, Derby said.
“A number of goals we have is to make the city more walkable,” Derby said. “Unfortunately, there are hopefully some isolated incidents where it just really doesn’t lend itself.”
After looking at some photos provided by Derby, board of works members agreed there wasn’t a way to reasonably build a sidewalk without incurring major expense to move utility infrastructure.
“I don’t feel like we have a choice,” Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said.
“I don’t think we have an alternative,” agreed board President Jim Dazey. “I think we need to extend the waiver.”
Board members voted unanimously to grant the waiver for Goodwin Place that they had previously denied.