On its second trip before the Prairie Village City Council on Monday, the group hoping to put a new Slim Chickens restaurant on the site of an aging office building near Somerset Drive and State Line Road got the zoning change it needs to proceed.
The proposed zoning change, which has drawn sharp opposition from a group of Somerset Drive homeowners whose properties abut the project since it first came to the planning commission in June, had been rejected by the council in August over concerns about traffic, noise and light pollution.
The applicant, represented by Block & Co., made a number of revisions to its plan, including moving the location of the drive through window and speaker as well as adding a wall of Green Giant thuja trees to improve screening.
Still, the issue again proved contentious on Monday, with four neighborhood residents speaking out against the plan, saying that it would be a detriment to their quality of life.
Carly Bailey, who lives near the site, said that she and her mother were “adamantly opposed to Slim Chickens” coming to the neighborhood. She pointed to the problems associated with the presence of Panda Express on the neighboring parcel and said she worried that another restaurant with a drive through window would only exacerbate noise, odors and light pollution.
“When you live there, [Panda Express] has been a resounding failure,” Bailey said.
But Mitch DiCarlo of Block countered that the company had been responsive to the concerns of both the Planning Commission and the council.
“We’ve done everything we could come up with or conceive of…to address all of the concerns that were raised,” he said.
The council deliberated for more than an hour and a half on the issue, before finally voting on a motion that would approve the requested zoning on the condition that the company build a wall around the property high enough to protect neighboring homes from headlights from cars going through the parking lot and drive through; and that it revise its parking plan to move the spaces closest to the neighboring home further away from those properties.
Sheila Myers was the only member of the council present to vote against the proposal. (Ruth Hopkins was absent).
Slim Chickens will need to go back to the Planning Commission in the coming months with a final site plan for approval before construction can begin.