By Jason Arndt
Culver’s Restaurant, of Burlington, plans to undergo some changes with a second drive-thru lane under a site plan amendment recently endorsed by the City of Burlington Plan Commission.
The second-drive thru lane is contingent upon Culver’s meeting engineering requirements from Kapur and Associates, widening the driveway on Falcon Ridge Drive, repaving the parking lot and moving the trash enclosure to add more space for the expansion.
City Planner Andy Cross, of the Lakota Group, said the Culver’s Restaurant has thrived in the community since 1998 and presently has a single drive-thru lane.
“The need has been identified to add a second (drive-thru) lane to the restaurant,” Cross wrote in a memorandum. It will be located next to the existing lane behind the building and require extending the pavement about 20-feet westward behind the property.”
The Plan Commission, which received a simple proposal for adding the second drive-thru lane, inquired about other concerns related to the Culver’s location.
Culver’s, 1037 Milwaukee Ave., is along heavily congested Falcon Ridge Drive across from Kwik Trip.
Cross notes primary access to restaurant is from Falcon Ridge Drive while having a right-only exit on Milwaukee Avenue.
Plan Commissioner Andy Ekes, who lives near Falcon Ridge, said he often experiences congestion heading home because the short driveway apron creates congestion problems.
“I think the driveway needs to be re-evaluated,” said Ekes, who said customers who leave the restaurant off Falcon Ridge Drive cannot turn left because of congestion leading to Milwaukee Avenue.
Building Inspector Gregory Guidry said Culver’s representatives recently contacted the city about widening the driveway.
Guidry said the apron is 22-feet, well below the city maximum of 35-feet under code.
Art Gardner, another Plan Commissioner, said he examined the Culver’s Restaurant site and expressed skepticism a large truck could fit through the second drive-thru lane.
He noted relocating the trash enclosure, which is near the proposed second drive-thru site, could help resolve some of the concerns.
While Culver’s plans to relocate the trash enclosure, it also looks to remove four parking stalls to accommodate expansion, but city officials said the restaurant chain would still meet requirements under municipal code.
“When approved in 1998, the restaurant was required to install 47 parking spaces on the property. As the site developed, they were able to provide 59, exceeding their requirement,” a memorandum states. “With the addition of the second (drive-thru) lane and extension of the paved area to the west, four parking spaces will be eliminated. This will leave the site with 55 off-street parking, still exceeding their required minimum.”
McCon Building Corporation, of Highland, will oversee the Culver’s Restaurant expansion.
Construction Project Administrator Brooke Olesen wrote in a letter to city officials the expansion looks to help with traffic and improve customer service.
“By adding this additional drive-thru lane, the restaurant will be able to keep drive-thru flowing, shorten wait times, avoid potential backup traffic and (improving) overall customer experience,” Olesen said.
Thomas Preusker, aldermanic representation, called the expansion “long overdue” considering the area has seen increased traffic.