The Shawnee planning commission has approved a final site plan for McLain’s Market coming to downtown.
The McLain’s Market project will be located on the former OK Garage site at the northeast corner of Nieman Road and West 59th Street in downtown Shawnee.
Neighboring business owners raised concerns that parking downtown is becoming an issue, but the planning commission said that issue should be discussed outside of discussions on a final site plan for McLain’s Market.
McLain’s Market is planning to renovate the former OK Garage automobile repair building and accessory transmission service building at 5833 Nieman Road. Plans also call for demolishing the car wash behind it at 11004 W. 59th St. to make room for the restaurant, drive-thru service and parking.
McLain’s also plans to build a 310 square foot addition to connect the two buildings of the OK Garage facility, creating a larger 5,650 square foot building.
Multiple site and public improvements are required as part of the substantial improvements. Specifically, the city is asking the developer to remove a tree on the northwest corner of the site to improve visibility for traffic; make façade improvements to the “transmission” building (second building next to Downtown Shawnee Car Wash) and reduce the westernmost driveway along West 59th Street to 30 feet wide.
The developer must also make aesthetic improvements to the site by planting turf or native grass to unpaved areas.
Commissioner Bruce Bienhoff asked about environmental issues on site, considering it was formerly a garage. Greg Hirleman, an owner of McLain’s, assured they are addressing any environmental concerns.
Concerns about adequate parking downtown
Kile Kaspar and Scott Harvey, chiropractors and owners of Back in Motion, the chiropractic and wellness clinic just to the north of the OK Garage, raised concerns about adequate parking downtown and said McLain’s Market would add even more traffic to exacerbate the issue.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled that you guys are coming; this is phenomenal,” Harvey said. “Parking already is a problem. We’re welcome to have them there as long as it doesn’t impede our business, but we’re a private lot and we’re trying to be conducive to what we’re trying to do. This is going to be a problem.”
“There’s going to be additional traffic going through that alleyway that they did not intend when they came to us to change our configuration,” Kaspar added, citing the city’s Nieman Now project that will adjust their driveway entrance to come from the alley next to the proposed drive-thru.
Hirleman said he’s sensitive to parking issues because parking is “the number one complaint” at the McLain’s at 107th and Roe.
Stephanie Malmborg, deputy community development director, said Panera Bread on Shawnee Mission Parkway has a similar footprint to the proposed site of McLain’s Market and also has the same number of parking spaces. Public and on-street parking will also be available for McLain’s downtown, including three new on-street spaces on West 59th Street, she added.
The commission encouraged Back in Motion owners to bring their concerns about parking to city staff.
Shawnee resident Judy Foley also expressed concerns that the design of McLain’s Market is too contemporary and doesn’t fit with the community’s goals to keep a “small town feel.”
“Nothing against this, but it just keeps happening time and time again, and personally, we’re thinking our downtown area and some of the adjoining area is just starting to look like a mishmosh,” Foley said. “This building is pretty and it’s nice, but it’s contemporary. Shawnee is not contemporary and it shouldn’t be made to look contemporary.”
Many planning commissioners shared their support for the project.
“I hope somebody complains that we just don’t have enough parking, because that’s an indication that the project is right, it’s drawing in people at that amount and that the downtown is going to begin to take off,” said Chairman Dennis Busby.
The planning commission voted 8-0 to approve the final site plan. It had the final say on this item, so a final plan will not be considered by the city council. Commissioners Carrie Bingham, Randy Braley and John Montgomery were absent.