Panera Bread was denied approval by the Edmond Planning Commission this week for adding a drive-through window at the back of the restaurant.
The vote was 2-3 against the request made by Ron Ward, owner of the Springcreek Village Shopping Center. Panera Bread is located on the northeast corner of 15th Street and Bryant Avenue.
“What they’d like to do is add a window on the east side of the property,” said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
The retaining wall on the east side of the property would be realigned to allow for pick-up window traffic and service and emergency vehicles to have adequate lane width for access, Schiermeyer said.
They would widen the lane so there would be enough room for fire trucks and service vehicles on two lanes of traffic, Schiermeyer said.
A new edge to the property would be established, Schiermeyer said. The land to the east is zoned for single family use but is projected for commercial office space.
“They do have to drive around the whole back of the area,” Schiermeyer said. “I’m convinced that based on the quality of this restaurant that customers would be happy to do this. But it is unusual.”
Panera Bread District Manager Mike Cassidy said the restaurant serves between 1,200-1,500 customers a day. No more than five or six cars at a time are projected to use the service window, Cassidy said.
Twenty-five percent of Panera’s business is carry out, Ward said. So the service window will help to ease the congestion inside of the restaurant, Ward said.
Commissioner Rob Rainey said he is concerned about the impact the service window traffic would have on other businesses.
“There’s going to be some trucks delivering to the neighbors to the north that eventually one day will conflict, with ‘Get out of my way. I’m going to make this route,’ with a customer who is sore,” Schiermeyer said.
There would be plenty of room to meet traffic needs on the route, according to the Engineering Department, Schiermeyer noted. Ward said he would put up traffic signs on the east side of Springcreek Village Shopping Center to avoid congestion.
“We’ll still have the 20-foot driveways for all the emergency vehicles,” Ward said. “And we will probably end up putting some signage back there that says ‘one way.’”
Edmond City Council will consider the item July 14.
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