A new Taco Bell is coming to our side of town.
The new branch will be at the east end of Newark Road at the Kirk Street intersection. Taco Bell hopes to take advantage of the market provided by Mount Vernon High School, Knox County Career Center and MVNU students.
The project is moving forward after several months of discussion. Despite ongoing concerns about increased noise and traffic, Mount Vernon City Council approved the plans last month.
Mount Vernon Developmental Services Manager Judy Cordle said the concerns are legitimate. State Route 13 is already heavily travelled and often becomes congested where it joins Martinsburg Road, she said.
Local residents on Clay Street also have complained about the disruption that could come from noise and headlights from customers using the drive-thru. Taco Bell plans to put up a 6-foot fence to block headlights and noise from local houses.
At-Large City Council Representative Mike Hillier said he spoke to local residents to gauge their reaction.
Although most of the houses in the area are rental properties, Hillier spoke with several long-time residents, including one woman who has lived there for 56 years who said she is concerned about the traffic.
Hillier sympathized, pointing out that drive-through traffic sometimes causes traffic to back up at Taco Bell’s
Coshocton Avenue location, and wondering if Clay Street will need widening to accommodate traffic.
The Ohio Department of Transportation conducted a traffic impact study and plans for the new branch fell within ODOT standards.
Hillier recognizes it is a smart move financially for Taco Bell, but still has some reservations.
Local students are excited about it and there will be income tax benefits for the city, but he says, “I don’t know if the good outweighs the bad.”
The new branch should open by the end of the year.