It will definitely have a drive-thru and it most likely will be a Starbucks. That’s the plan for the new building that will replace the demolished Waid’s structure at Prairie Village shops in the near future.
The city planning commission approved a conditional use permit for a drive-thru at the new building Tuesday night despite some opposition from the surrounding neighborhood and some reservations from the commissioners. The new building could house two to four tenants and will be 5,908 square feet.
Attorney Curt Petersen, representing owners LANE4, said no tenants had been signed yet for the building, but with drive-thru approval it is “more likely than not” that Starbucks will be relocating from its current site. Other tenants could include Einstein Brothers, he said. The Einstein shop is vacating its spot on the west side of the shops as early as next month to make way for the new STANDEES theater and restaurant.
The drive-through will be approximately 200 feet long — enough to stack 10 cars on the north side between the new building and the UMB Bank building. There will be no access to Mission Road; cars will exit the drive-thru onto Mission Lane, the street that runs in front of Hen House.
Chuck Dehner, speaking for residents opposed to the drive-thru, said it will hurt the character of the neighborhood, make Mission Lane unsafe for walkers, and that idling cars in the lane are not healthy.
“When they take our public money, they owe us something in return,” Dehner said, referring to the Community Improvement District funds that are supporting renovation. He also contended there had been a lack of transparency in the community discussion process. The city has received several letters opposing the drive-thru.
Both Dehner and some commissioners raised concerns about approving a drive-thru without knowing the tenant and consequently the prospect that a fast food franchise could occupy the site. Petersen said the owners would “not scar this center,” but would not preclude any tenant. The building design as approved, however, could not accommodate a typical fast-food exterior look — no “golden arches” could be added, city staff pointed out. The conditional use permit also expires if the use stops — when a tenant vacates — and would need to be approved again.
In approving a site plan for the building, the commission required modifications that will make the back side more compatible with the look of the other sides. The building is designed with a patio on each end for at least two different tenants.
The drive-thru won its approval, but there was a very long silence after the motion to approve before a commissioner spoke up to second the motion.