Drive-thru, parking pose concerns as city considers plans for Village Shops renovations

Architect Ed Alexander of Hollis + Miller, left, and attorney Curtis Petersen of Polsinelli Shughart presented plans for major renovations to the Village Shops to the Prairie Village Planning Commission Tuesday.

Pedestrian friendliness and parking continued to top concerns expressed Prairie Village area residents Tuesday as the Village Shops ownership group made its first formal presentation to the city’s Planning Commission about major proposed renovations to the center.

Several commissioners and members of the public worried aloud that a planned drive-thru lane at a new retail building scheduled to replace Waid’s could cause significant traffic issues and deter pedestrians during peak hours.

“It strikes me as oxymoronic to have an area that you’re calling pedestrian friendly that has a drive thru running through it,” said Joel Crown, who lives near the shops, during public comment.

Polsinelli Shughart attorney Curtis Petersen, who made a presentation to the commission on behalf of the center’s owners, confirmed that Starbucks Coffee was interested in occupying the new retail space — but noted a deal for them to move from their current location several hundred feet to the south was far from finalized.

“Starbucks is looking to get away from locations that don’t have drive-thrus,” Petersen said. “They’re option to decide whether they stay at the center or leave is coming soon. We’d like for this to continue to be an attractive location for them.”

But Chuck Dehner, who also lives near the shops, said he’d spoken with a Starbucks representative, and was under the impression that a drive-thru wasn’t an absolute must have for the popular coffee chain.

“Starbucks is part of our community, and we want Starbucks here,” Dehner told the commissioners. “But I’m very opposed to a drive-thru that would exit onto Mission Lane. I think it poses a hazard to pedestrians.”

The Planning Commission will make a final decision about LANE4’s proposals for the expansion of Hen House, the renovation of Mission Lane, and the construction of a replacement retail building on the site of Waid’s at its next meeting, to be held Oct. 2.