A fast food franchise wants to spice up a vacant site | New

WHITE BEAR LAKE – Big Mac, or taco to go?

A Taco Bell offered near McDonald’s on Centerville Road would give fast food lovers options. City planners, however, do not support the drive-thru’s use of nearby parking lots, nor the plaintiff’s request to install a 55-foot pylon sign visible from I-35E.

The applicant/owner, Marvin Development III LLC/Border Foods, hopes to subdivide a parcel in the White Oak Retail Center for a stand-alone Taco Bell at 4600 Centerville Road. The property is landlocked with easements to the north and south to allow access to service lanes located at Walgreen’s and Lunds & Byerly’s sites.

Border Foods is a local franchisee of Taco Bell Corp. and has operated Taco Bell restaurants since 1996. Marvin Development LLC, on behalf of Border Foods, proposes to purchase the east portion of the existing property to construct a building with a single drive-thru lane. A PUD is requested to provide flexibility from certain aspects of the zoning code.

At this point, the strip mall, owned by John and Stephen Moriarty, has only one tenant, Anytime Fitness. Plans for a second phase fell through in 2013 and the rights to expand the building expired. Since then, the 113-unit north senior housing project and supermarket have been developed, “intensifying the surrounding development pattern and further defining access and circulation,” said Samantha Crosby, Planning Coordinator and zoning.

The staff does not support routing restaurant traffic through parking lots, Crosby told the Planning Commission, and it is a configuration that does not exist anywhere in the city.

“The internal circulation of the property will be problematic,” she said. “The flow of customers through the Anytime Fitness car park on entry and through the main Lunds & Byerly entrance on exit is less than ideal.”

Marvin III development director Zach Zelickson noted at the May 23 meeting that a previous board had approved a conditional use permit for two drive-thru facilities at the Linear Mall, which Crosby later approved. clarified.

Original plans for the site, which date back 15 years, called for a drive-thru at one end of the 15,000-square-foot commercial building. It was approved. A second drive-thru with the Phase Two expansion was only conceptually approved and was contingent on approval of a conditional use permit, she pointed out.

Zelickson disagreed with the staff’s opinion regarding the grocery store’s land use. “We don’t route traffic through Lunds & Byerly’s,” he said. “We know the site will work.”

The franchisee has gone through “many iterations” of the proposal since October, he added, and believes the proposed plan offers a one-stop solution to a large, vacant site compatible with the commercial area.

“We really believe this will work. It’s a great fit,” Zelickson told the stewards. “If it were to create a disaster, we wouldn’t be here.”

It was noted that the McDonald’s directly south of the site has a dedicated access driveway through the Walgreens parking lot which allows internal traffic.

Regarding signage, signs on pylon are not authorized in the zoning district in which the restaurant is located. The claimant made the claim based on the nearby McDonald’s pylon, which was part of a PUD claim in 1993, Crosby added. If Taco Bell gets a pylon panel, Lunds & Byerly said it wants one too.

“The proposed PUD appears to create a lot that was never intended to be, for use with poor internal circulation and a sign that would otherwise not be permitted,” Crosby said. “The project could be approved, but it is not because it is possible that it is desirable.”

Chairman Jim Berry said it was too bad the plaintiff had to “shoehorn” the project and “get in the way” of the grocery store. “There are too many hurdles to jump through,” he said, “and a mess to jump through.”

The commission voted 5-0 to deny the request, following the staff’s recommendation.

The PUD’s request goes before the city council on June 14.

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