City Council Approves Expansion of Richardson Restaurant Park, New Home of Eiland Coffee Roasters

An aerial render of the Richardson Restaurant grounds shows Dave’s future hot chicken and Eiland coffee roasters on the north edge of the property (far right). It also shows the approved Outdoor Biergarten. (Courtesy of Hermansen Land Development)

City Council voted on Oct. 11 to approve two zoning requests that pave the way for the Richardson Restaurant Park expansion and construction of a new location for Eiland Coffee Roasters.

Kirk Hermansen, developer of the restaurant park, and Clay Eiland, owner of Eiland Coffee Roasters, both plan to install drive-through restaurants on the property, which requires special permits.

At a meeting in December, Hermansen was cleared to bring two additional restaurants with prepaid order pickup windows to the restaurant’s grounds, located off of the US 75 frontal road, just north of Spring Valley Road. However, the council reserved the right to screen Hermansen’s tenants if it decided to pursue a full-service drive-thru via a special permit.

In July, the board rejected Hermansen’s request to add Dave’s Hot Chicken to development. The objection was based primarily on the desired full-service drive-thru as well as walking and traffic issues.

As a compromise, Hermansen came back with a plan that ditched one of the future drive-through restaurants and reduced the size of the drive-thru at Dave’s from two lanes to one, among other concessions.

“We listened to you, we integrated and processed all your changes,” he said. “We have listened to the community, HOAs and the general public… We have had overwhelming support for the project as a whole.”

The updated proposal also includes a 16,000 square foot outdoor food and entertainment area known as the Biergarten. Hermansen said the area will include picnic tables, a bar, a foyer with seating, cabanas, an area for live music or film screenings, a cornhole and ping-pong playground, and space for a food truck and other amenities.

“We want people to feel like they can hang out here,” Hermansen told the City Planning Commission at its September 22 meeting, where his proposal was unanimously approved.

Hermansen worked closely with Eiland to integrate a new location for their coffee roasting business. In 2019, Eiland pitched their idea for a coffee roasting warehouse and drive-through restaurant north of the Restaurant Park. After four hours of passionate comments from residents both for and against the project, council rejected the proposal, citing potential traffic jams on US Front Road 75 and insufficient parking as the main areas of concern.

Jason Claunch, chairman of Catalyst Commercial, told the plan committee meeting that this version of Eiland’s plan eliminates access from the main road, which should ease traffic. Cross-access and cross-parking with the Hermansen property should improve pedestrian access and provide more parking, he said.

The site, which will be built on the northern edge of the restaurant’s park property, will include a two-story restaurant with drive-thru as well as an adjacent coffee roasting warehouse with administrative space.

“This is not a normal building for a cafe; we’re trying to make a destination, ”Eiland said. “Every facet we do has to be done right.”

Hermansen’s project garnered over 1,000 letters of support, 650 of which were specific to Richardson. It also had the backing of nearby homeowners associations, Hermansen said.

“We really appreciate that the developers have taken into account the feedback from the board and from us… We really think they came back with a much stronger plan,” said Travis Bond, president of the Richardson Heights Neighborhood Association. , during the public comments section. . “We think the Biergarten is a very exciting space, and that’s what we’ve wanted in this space for a long time.”

The majority of the board agreed that Hermansen’s new plan was a sufficient compromise; however, some feared that there was no guarantee that the Biergarten would be built.

“I need to be assured that this will be completed within a reasonable time, regardless of that time frame,” said board member Ken Hutchenrider.

In response, Hermansen agreed to a contingency in the ordinance that would revoke Dave’s array of orders if construction of the Biergarten does not begin within 24 months.

Council unanimously approved Hermansen’s request with this contingency. He also approved Eiland’s request, with the option of upgrading the existing chain link fence.

About Walter Bartholomew

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