Jackson Ave. Drive-Thru Moves to Council

A new drive-thru restaurant on Jackson Avenue – near the I-94 interchange – will be moving ahead, following action by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its June 17, 2014 meeting.

2625 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of 2625 Jackson Ave.

The commission recommended approval of a site plan for 2625 Jackson, on the southeast corner of Jackson and I-94, and just north of the Westgate Shopping Center. The plan calls for demolishing the existing one-story service station and auto repair shop and constructing a single building with a 1,820-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,220-square-foot retail center. The gas pump islands and canopy will be removed. The total project would cost an estimated $400,000. [.pdf of staff memo]

The restaurant’s single lane drive-thru would primarily be accessed from a proposed curbcut on Jackson Ave., with an exit through the Westgate Shopping Center Jackson Ave. entrance. An existing curbcut off Jackson to the east would be closed. The new curbcut has been approved by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and would prevent left turns onto Jackson. The drive-thru lane provides stacking for up to four vehicles and would be screened to the north by the proposed building.

The site plan will be forwarded to city council for consideration.

In a separate vote, commissioners granted a special exception use for this project, which does not require additional city council approval. This is the first drive-thru proposal that’s come through the city’s approval process since the city council approved changes to the Chapter 55 zoning ordinance that regulates drive-thrus. That approval came at the council’s June 2, 2014 meeting.

The site is zoned C3 (fringe commercial district), which previously allowed drive-thrus without getting special permission from the planning commission. Now, such projects must meet the revised zoning standards and a special exception use is required. The new standards require that the drive-thru is not located between a public right-of-way and the main building, and that traffic circulation to enter and exit the facility does not interfere with general circulation on the site or with pedestrian circulation on and off the site.

Jim Chaconas, representing Westgate Shopping Center, told commissioners that the drive-thru would likely be either a coffee shop or fast-food restaurant.

The votes were unanimous, coming shortly after midnight with six of the nine commissioners present. Special exception use approval require six votes.

This brief was filed from the second-floor council chambers at city hall. A more detailed report will follow: [link]