DOP Donuts’ special use permit and future in downtown Overland Park remain up in air

The city and outdoor donut shop DOP Donuts have another month to reach an agreement after the Overland Park Planning Commission opted for a continuance on whether the shop's special use permit should be approved. Image from DOP Donuts Instagram page

The long-term future of DOP Donuts in downtown Overland Park remains up in the air, though the city says the shop can still sell donuts for now out of its Airstream trailer as it continues to seek renewal of a special use permit that allows it to do so.

What’s going on? At its meeting Monday, the Overland Park Planning Commission didn’t take any action on DOP’s special use permit renewal and instead opted to revisit the matter next month as the city and shop’s owners continue to work out a solution to the permit impasse.

  • City staff  have recommended DOP’s special use permit not be renewed but said Monday that the donut shop doesn’t necessarily have to close right now even though its special use permit has expired, since the shop is actively trying to get a new one.
  • The Post has reached out for comment from DOP Donuts’ owner to confirm whether they plan to continue selling donuts for now, but he had not responded as of the publication of this story.

How did it get here? The city originally approved a special use permit for the donut trailer at 7512 80th Street in 2019, which at the time served as a “creative use,” according to the city.

  • At that time, a condition of the permit was that DOP Donuts would move its trailer out of sight from 80th Street on the days it was closed, which includes Monday through Thursday.
  • Since then, city staff said drive-by observations determined that DOP wasn’t moving the trailer and thus wasn’t complying with that stipulation.
  • This led to city staff’s recommendation to the commission not to renew the permit.

What DOP says: At Monday’s meeting, DOP Donuts owner Travis Lindemoen told the commission that the shop’s staff does not have the means of moving the trailer at the agreed-upon times.

  • Moving the trailer requires a vehicle that they don’t have, he said, and the other two employees the shop has are in high school and don’t know how to move something that size.
  • The alternative would be hiring someone to move it, which Lindemoen said the shop can’t afford.
  • “You see a trailer, but DOP Donuts is more than a trailer,” he said. “Quite honestly, a lot of our customers look at it as a piece of art.”

How the commission responded: In addition to some residents who showed up in support of DOP at Monday’s meeting, some commission members agreed the donut shop benefits downtown Overland Park.

  • But they also voiced concerns about setting a precedent for other businesses to potentially not comply with their permits’ stipulations and agreed that it’s important for Overland Park’s businesses to follow the rules.
  • “That’s the reason why the Planning Commission exists,” said commission chair Holly Streeter-Schaefer. “If (businesses) are in agreement with those stipulations and then they don’t comply with them, that is very concerning to me. Because I don’t think we can trust all the applicants in that case, and I want to be able to trust our community members.”

What’s next? The renewal of DOP Donuts’ special use permit will come back for potential approval at the commission’s July meeting.

  • If the Planning Commission does reach a decision next month, the City Council would have still have to make a final decision on whether the special use permit gets reapproved.