Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings Get Thumbs Up

The Germantown Plan Commission approved an extensive list of permits and plans for a major redevelopment project on County Line Road. Construction could begin in spring 2013.

Construction of an Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings on County Line Road in spring took a big step forward Monday after getting thumbs up from the Germantown Plan Commission.

Menomonee Falls-based Continental 246 Fund, LLC  is proposing a substantial development in the current parking lot of Riversbend Golf Club on County Line Road in Germantown. Plans call for construction of a 7,660-square-foot Olive Garden and a 7,715-square-foot Buffalo Wild Wings adjacent to one another. The Riversbend clubhouse would be relocated to the north end of the property.

The Plan Commission approved six different permits, rezoning requests, signage, and a site plan in a series of votes Monday. With the approval, the project moves to a public hearing and a vote before the full Village Board at 6 p.m., Jan. 28 at Village Hall on Mequon Road. If approval is given, construction could begin in spring, and both businesses would open in fall of 2013.

However, as with any major approval in any community, the developer was required to field numerous questions and adhere to additional requirements laid forth by commissioners.

County Line Road traffic a concern

Traffic issues and flooding are oft cited as top developmental issues in the annals of municipal governance, and it was no different in Germantown. Due to an increase in traffic from the two new restaurants, the developer plans to foot the bill for a new traffic light on County Line Road. The light would be installed at the end of the frontage road, which currently serves as a dual entrance for Riversbend and KFC.

The new light would be coordinated with other lights along County Line Road to allow travelers on Riversbend Lane a chance to join traffic on County Line, and maintain a steady flow of traffic on the busy corridor. The lights would also discourage drivers from using Riversbend Circle to access the traffic light on Rivercrest Drive near McDonald's. 

Commissioner David Baum wasn’t completely sold on the current design plan. He felt there were too many business exits flowing onto the frontage road between the proposed development and KFC. He wanted a median constructed to force drivers leaving the Olive Garden from the south exit to turn right only.

“How many accidents are going to happen there?” Baum asked. He requested that the Plan Commission require developers to at least consider building a median to control traffic there.

John Lauderdale, a resident in the Rivercrest subdivision adjacent to the proposed devleopment, also felt traffic was reason enough to hold off the project.

“It’s my opinion that you should hold off on any further development until we get the infrastructure to handle additional traffic on County Line Road,” Lauderdale said.

Can plans tame 100-year storm?

Flooding was the second primary issue regarding the proposed development. Continental received a zoning exception to disrupt a small strip of a protected wetland corridor buffer zone. Continental would compensate that disturbance by planting native plant and grass species in a 12,500-square-foot zone.

“We’re not disturbing any wetlands, but we are going into the buffer with paving and grading of the parking lot,” said Continental representative Sara Johnson.

A drainage swill and dry pond will also be installed to handle additional storm water runoff resulting from the development. The water would drain north into an existing pond on the golf course. The drainage plan would protect residents from flooding in the 100-year storm event. 

“We’re actually at a net benefit, and they are cutting out more than the amount of water that flows off during a 100-year storm … there’s no negative impact on those downtstream,” said Village Engineer Brionne Bischke 

Other Notes: 

  • Commissioner Mary Ellen Gray questioned the landscaping proposed on the site, and would like futher review of the plantings. “You’re looking at a lot of gravel with a little Spirea sticking out of it. It’s not geared to be very attractive or to thrive,” Gray said. 
  • Signage at the Buffalo Wild Wings exceeded its amount allotted by village code. The plans featured 183 square feet of signage, and code limited the business to 127.5 square feet. The developer agreed to reduce the amount of signage. 
  • Commissioners were concerned that large vehicles wouldn't fit in parking stalls that are 18 feet by 9 feet. Most stalls are 20 feet by 9 feet in Germantown, and commissioners worried large vehicles wouldn't fit. Planners said the proposed stalls were standard dimensions in other developments.
LYNN MAGLIO January 16, 2013 at 03:14 PM
I agree with you 100%. I'd love to see a Bakers Square and even a nice steak restraunt..now that would be super. I see lots of vacant and better places for restraunts than at Riverbend Condominiums. I live here and don't want them to build Olive Garden or Bww's. County line road is bad enough. What about additional flooding...can they garantee there will be no extra flooding? I don't think so.
chris January 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Exactly- there is no reason menomonee falls should not be able to attract these restaurants. They have the space next to CVS which would be ideal for these two or by the marcus theater or in the new development where the athletic club will be. Step up to the plate boys!! We have enough Dentist offices, Medical complexes and Pizza Places. Lets get some quality restaurants in these open spaces!!!!!!
Richard January 16, 2013 at 06:40 PM
How about a new, good breakfast place for the Falls, an alternative to the Greek restaurants currently populating the Falls.
Fallsguy February 06, 2013 at 02:27 PM
I too would love to see these types of restaurants in the falls. Problem with tjem is that the franchises have requirements. They will only allow a new restaurant if other businesses arw within a certain distance. If theses busonesses are not close enuff, then its a no go. So in other words, the falls needs to do some heavy duty planning for better development now, which will lend to great development in the future. I don't see the board taking the time to truely want to develop the araa. Easier to stick a big box store with less requirements in (big lots). That will not attract the restaurants or other businesses we the public want.
Awake! February 06, 2013 at 03:21 PM
I for one won't be patronizing the BWW in Gtown, or any other one for that matter, since they decided to post the 'no guns allowed on premesis' in the front window of all their locations. Take note BWW...if I see the sign, I turn around and take my business elsewhere...your loss, someone else's monetary gain...wake up America...


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