A developer’s plan to build a Slim Chickens restaurant on the site of a currently vacant State Line Road office building couldn’t get past the Prairie Village City Council, which sent the issue back to the Planning Commission for further review Monday after several councilor objected to the idea of having a restaurant with a drive-thru window so close to neighboring houses.
Though the Planning Commission had voted 5-2 last month to recommend approval for the zoning changes that would pave the way for the project, a number of members of the city council were concerned the restaurant called for a drive-thru with two ordering lanes. The parcel on which the property is located borders several single-family houses to the west.
“The fact that it’s abutting people’s homes is a problem,” said Sheila Myers. “I’ve got a big issue with the drive through.”
Councilor Andy Wang countered that while it was important to take the comfort of neighboring homeowners into account, the State Line corridor was already packed with similar businesses, including Panda Express, which has a drive thru lane on the property next to the parcel slated for the Slim Chickens project.
“We’re talking about development on State Line Road,” he said. “There is an army of like businesses on either side of the street. What we are trying to do is not have a vacant building.”
Wang along with councilors Ruth Hopkins, Steve Noll, Brooke Morehead and Ted Odell all voted in favor of the project. But with six votes against from Ashley Weaver, Jori Nelson, Myers, Dan Runion, David Morrison and Terrence Gallagher, the application failed.
The council then voted to send the issue back to the Planning Commission for further review, with instructions that they ensure any revised plan worked to abate sound, traffic and light pollution from the project. Additionally, they requested the commission reconsider the design of the proposed drive-thru.
Mitch DiCarlo, who represents Block and Co., the firm managing the site development process for the Slim Chickens owner, told the council after their vote that he didn’t know whether the project would be viable without the drive-thru.
“It seems to be a critical component of these types of businesses anymore,” he said. “I don’t know if it would be built without one. I think it would be very questionable.”