Food trucks could be coming to the corner of 47th and Mission as an interim step to a new restaurant at the location. After a three-hour session Tuesday night, the Roeland Park Planning Commission on a split vote approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) that will allow the southwest corner of the intersection to be used for parking and daily food trucks for a minimum of one year with a likely one-year extension.
The SUP specifies that a maximum of three food trucks can operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the site. They would be located on the north end of the parcel along 47th Street and closer to Mission Road to keep them farther away from nearby houses.
The vacant lot, where buildings were torn down earlier this year, has been used for overflow parking from Taco Republic, across the street in Wyandotte County, on a temporary permit. The SUP recommended Tuesday by the planning commission still needs the approval of the city council.
Tony Krsnich, whose Flint Hills Holding bought the site, told the planning commission that he needs the time to make a deal with a restaurant partner that will bring a quality operation to the site. Krsnich said he is not proposing a building or concept yet, although he showed several photos to represent the quality of restaurant he wants to build. Krsnich said he is not interested in a fast food restaurant or owning a surface parking lot. “This is going to be original,” he said.
The deal, though, almost fell through when the planning commission split 3-3 during a straw poll on the SUP proposal. Eventually, commissioner Kyle Rogler switched to a ‘yes’ vote and the final proposal passed 4-2 with Rogler joining commissioners Julie Mohart, Mike Hickey and Mark Kohles. Paula Gleason and Darren Nielsen voted against the proposal.
“I see this as one of the first positive steps (for that corner),” Mohart said. “This is the first company that is trying to do anything positive. The existing buildings on the site “were an embarrassment” she said.
Gleason was critical of the current condition of the lot, calling it “ugly,” because the foundation from the buildings has not been removed and the site graded. Krsnich said he did not want to invest in finishing the surface and then turn around and demolish it for new restaurant construction. That money could better be used for marketing the location, he said.
At one point in the marathon discussion, Krsnich indicated that without the SUP he could be forced to accept one of the offers on the table from a fast food operator. That would not be what Roeland Park would want, he said. “We are still bullish on the site. Roeland Park will be fine with or without me, but I think it could be more,” he said.
Krsnich also emphasized several times that he tore down the existing buildings at the request of the city when he bought the property, which is now costing him money every month. They had been subject to code violations under the previous owner. The food trucks and parking revenue would give him some cushion while trying to build the new restaurant, he said.
The planning commission heard from residents both supporting and opposing the SUP.