A proposed fast-food chicken restaurant on State Line Road is headed back to the Prairie Village City Council later this month after planning commissioners made some tweaks.
The city’s Planning Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday night to once again recommend rezoning the property to allow developers to build a Slim Chickens restaurant on a 1.37-acre lot at 7930 State Line Road. The narrow lot currently holds an office building.
Planning commissioners in July recommended rezoning the property and approving a preliminary site plan for the restaurant, including a double drive-thru.
But city council members last month sent the proposal back for additional work after agreeing with residents who live behind the property that the restaurant would generate too much noise and other distractions from drive-thru speakers, traffic and light pollution.
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Those residents say they already experience those problems from the Panda Express restaurant next door to the proposed Slim Chickens.
On Tuesday, developers provided the results from an acoustic engineering study that they commissioned at Slim Chickens locations in Overland Park and Independence that showed that the noise generated by those restaurants’ drive-thrus was comparable to traffic noise already in the area.
They also unveiled a new site plan that significantly shortened the drive-thru lanes so drivers would be farther from residences and bulked up the landscaping and fencing at the rear of the property to create a more effective buffer.
However, most of the planning commissioners disliked that plan because it would potentially cause traffic congestion for those driving into the restaurant and would force customers parking behind the restaurant to have to walk through the drive-thru to enter the building.
“I have concerns that you have families with small children, and mom turns her back for a second and you have a young child running though traffic,” said Commissioner Nancy Wallerstein.
Ultimately, the majority of commissioners approved the original plan but added the new plan’s increased buffer. They also required that sound coming from the drive-thru intercom could be no louder than ambient nighttime traffic noise in the area.
Commissioners Jonathan Birkel and Jim Breneman voted against the recommendation, with Breneman saying he favored the new plan.
The developers said they agreed with the compromise and also wanted to reduce any affects on residents.
The revised plan now goes back to the City Council for a decision Sept. 21.
David Wooldridge, one of the residents whose home is behind the property and who has opposed the restaurant, said after the meeting that he was not swayed by the changes.
Wooldridge said car headlights from the restaurant will still strike the upper story on his house and that the ongoing disruptions from the Panda Express don’t convince him that the city can adequately police potential problems.
To reach David Twiddy, send email to dtwiddy913 @gmail.com.