Kiley Way developments need to be carefully weighed

DEVELOPMENT HAS COME OVER the years in the Kiley Way corridor on the city’s east side.

The commercial strip along the frontage road south of State 23 between State 57 and Pleasantview Road came into being more than 15 years ago when Wal-mart came to Plymouth.

The big box store located on State 57 and triggered infrastructure expansion, including a new street complex that included the Kiley Way frontage road.

Over the ensuing years, there has been considerable new building in that sector, including a fast food restaurant, a strip mall, motel, several medical clinics and more.

But, a decade and a half later, there is plenty of vacant land along all of those new streets and more than a few planned developments that have never come to fruition.

The city’s Plan Commission dealt with another planned development for that corridor at their last meeting and it raised a question that has yet to be dealt with in all that time.

In Motion Dance Studio presented plans for a new building on the north side of Kiley Way, just east of the intersection with Carr Road, for approval.

The studio, which outgrew its space in the strip mall on Kiley Way just to the east, plans to build a new studio on that parcel.

Having already moved out of the strip mall – with the space there already filled with Dragon Buffet, a new Chinese buffet restaurant – In Motion was understandably eager to gain approval and get their new building up.

But the plans they presented gave pause to the planners on a number of points.

They were nowhere near as complete in detail as the commission has requested in the past from other developers, which rightly was a matter of concern.

What was included in the presentation raised another question, as the building being proposed is a metal building.

As City Administrator Brian Yerges noted, it would be the first metal building in that commercial corridor and raised the issue of whether the city wants to allow or encourage such structures in that highly-visible area.

The commission went along with the proposed building, but rightly insisted that the facade facing Kiley Way be covered with a more decorative stucco finish.

Many of the details, such as landscaping and lighting, were left to city staff to give final approval. That’s not the normal practice, but city staff does understand clearly the importance of making sure those details fit with the ambiance and esthetics intended for that area.

It is to be hoped that future development plans that arise in that corridor will not be as rushed or urgent as this one was, so that the commission and city staff can give them the proper consideration and weight to ensure that they are orderly and fitting.

It’s taken this long for the Kiley Way corridor to develop this far, and will take longer to fully develop. It is only proper that the city take its time in considering any future development plans.


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