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
- 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.