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that the new McDonald's did not qualify, because it didn't provide parking, people would use it as a drive-in, stopping on Maynard to grab some fast-food. But the Appeals Board refused to consider it due to that small loophole. This ruling makes it likely that McDonald's will take the case to court if Council does not pass the site plan.
A public hearing was scheduled for the end of January, and a packed Council room listened to one after another person protesting the development. Even the architects mumbled something about not being able to vouch for the quality of the hamburgers, as they entertained the audience with slides of the "new, improved" Mcdonald's. Local attorney Donald Koster referred to the structure as the "Taj Mahal of restaurants."
The owner of the Betsy Ross Shoppe Restaurant accused Council of trying to drive out local, independent businessmen. He cited the closing of three other restaurants in the State Street area within the past month, and said that the cheap chainfood would make it in impossible for most restaurants to compete.
THE FINAL STEP
The only thing now stopping completion of the McDonald's is City Council's approval of the site plan. The Republican majority has already shown that it does not neccessarily feel that it must listen to local citizens when it comes to the development of business interests in the city.
Stopping the plan will require strong public pressure on the Republicans from as many sources as possible. Already the State Street Committee has gained attention through the placing of two quarter page ads opposing the McDonald's in the Michigan Daily. But Council also received a letter from the Williams' Street Merchants urging the McDonald's be approved (so far the only voice to openly speak in favor of the proposal).
Members of the Ann Arbor SUN, the Free People's Clinic, Children's Community Center, HRP, the various food co-ops, neighbors of the McDonald's on Stadium, and others in the community are actively working on the petition drive to convince Council that it is no small minority of people who oppose construction of another el-cheapo fast-foods restaurant in the State Street area.
The Republicans must be convinced that the city does not approve of unlimited development. Besides signing the petition, which can be found in local stores or picked picked up at the SUN office, people can call City Hall, and write individual letters to the Mayor and other Council members. Local businesses and community organizations can also let Council know where they stand. If pressure is maintained until the proposal comes to a vote, the Republicans may recognize that it is in the best interest of no one to allow random commercial development of the city.
(For the latest on when the site plan will go to Council, or to get information on petitions, call the A2 SUN at 761-7148).