BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee Design Review Board has approved design plans for a new Monnette’s Market, putting the local grocer one step closer to building a new market in uptown Maumee.
At the October 2 meeting, the Maumee Design Review Board voted 5-0 to approve the plans.
The market, which is slated for construction at 222 Conant St., will have a greenhouse, market area and leasable space, said owner Marc Monnette. He and architect Tadd Stacey presented renderings at the meeting, which show a 7,200-square-foot market, a 2,500-square-foot leasable space and a 2,000-square foot greenhouse.
Board member and architect James Jarvis said he had “heartburn” imagining how the greenhouse might look, but was pleased to learn that the structure will be comprised of 100-percent glass, including curved glass, along with an aluminum frame and stone knee wall.
“This is nice,” Jarvis said.
Residents Jaimie Deye and Margo Puffenberger, who have been behind a push for the implementation of a citywide master plan, were not as pleased. Both expected a design with a two-story mixed-use building in order to draw more people uptown and match the existing buildings.
Previously, Monnette’s submitted a design plan that included a two-story structure, but the newer design calls for the removal of a 1,500-square-foot second floor space, which essentially reduced the entire building to one story.
“I’m very excited they’re coming to uptown Maumee,” Deye said. “We’re lucky because a lot of small towns are losing their grocers, but I’m disappointed that you’re no longer looking at a two-story. I want to make sure that what’s going on is best for uptown Maumee long term, not just what’s best for Monnette’s.”
Deye, who is also an architect, has studied the 200 and 300 blocks of Conant and noted that the majority of buildings are two and three stories tall and date back more than 100 years. She also noted that a building on a corner lot, like the one Monnette’s has acquired, is especially important because in typical urban design, such a building would be taller and more decorative since it is the first thing that drivers see when entering Maumee from the bridge.
Both Deye and Puffen-berger urged the board to push for at least a two-story, mixed-use building that will attract people and serve the city well in the long term.
“To succeed, we need people uptown. That’s one of the goals of the master plan,” Deye said.
Maumee zoning inspector Andy Glenn said that reconstructing uptown as it exists today is cost-prohibitive due to current building regulations and fire-stopping measures. He believes that such practices would price developers out of the market.
Deye disagreed, noting that Mayberry in Sylvania and other mixed-use construction with multiple floors is happening all over the area.
While he understands the concerns, Jarvis said that a Design Review Board meeting is not the time for discussing whether the building is two or three stories. He and Glenn said that the time to discuss such issues would have been appropriate when council decided to sell the property to Monnette’s.
“As an architect, I prefer multi-use three-story with retail, office and residential,” Jarvis said. “That’s not what the applicant came here for. We can’t tell the applicant to build something they don’t want to build. It’s their business.”
For Monnette’s, the next steps will be getting the site plans approved, which means the building and service divisions will have to review and approve the plans. After that, the building permits have to be issued.
In addition to approving the Monnette’s plans, the board also reviewed and approved plans for improving the exterior of 306 Conant St., which is the future home of Amity Ink.