QUINCY — Changes made to the original proposal for a coffee bar at the intersection of Seventh and Broadway satisfied the Quincy Plan Commission at its Tuesday meeting.
The commission voted to support the issuance of a special use permit to allow the development of Carter’s Coffee Bar, a coffee/specialty drink shop. All landscaping, buffers between residential properties and off-street parking requirements must be finalized as part of the site plan review process, and the departments of planning and development, engineering and police must sign off on the final design for the property.
The proposal now goes before the Quincy City Council at its next meeting on Monday.
The original location for Carter’s Coffee Bar at 3815 Maine has been wildly popular but caused traffic headaches since its opening a year ago. The original design submitted by owner Ciara Weese went through two revisions, according to City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer, to prevent a similar situation.
“The property on Maine Street was a commercially zoned property, and downtown drive-ups are required to have a special permit,” Bevelheimer said. “That’s what got us to this meeting and why we had such detailed evaluation.
“When we said to (the owners), ‘Look, we think you need to change your design around completely,’ thankfully our engineering department helped us a lot. We had a lot of discussions in house not wanting to perpetuate a problem similar to the one on Maine Street.”
The main changes were the addition of more spaces for cars to wait as they go through the coffee bar drive-thru, and the addition of an order board that allows seven cars to be in line from the time they make their order to when they reach the drive-up window.
Cars will enter the drive-thru from the north as they drive on Seventh Street. They will exit to the south before they enter onto Broadway. The coffee bar also will have 10 angled parking stalls on the property so customers can walk up and order drinks — a service unavailable at the Maine Street location.
Weese said she has hired more employees for the Maine Street business to wait on customers faster.
“We’ve noticed a big change. We’ve been getting them (served) faster than two minutes,” she told the Plan Commission. “We’re hoping that if we get this next (business), it will take some of the congestion from Maine Street. A lot of our customers are hospital employees, and we’re hoping we can take some of them and move them to Broadway so we can avoid more big backups on Maine Street.”
Commission member Jeff Mays, director of administrative services for the city, applauded Weese for the success of her business. However, he was concerned that if the new location had similar success that she had no options to prevent traffic snarls on Broadway. He was the commission’s lone no vote.
“We’ve had a number of meetings to try to address the issues that have been created by your business on Maine Street,” he said. “The bulk of that remediation or the bulk of the impact has been borne by either the city or by your neighboring businesses. … I’m not convinced that if you have great success (on Broadway) that there’s any options for you to address problems you may create.”
Mays then asked how the original coffee bar was allowed without having an order board when commission member Dave Bellis interrupted.
“We’re not here to talk about Maine Street,” Bellis said. “This young lady’s got a great business.”
When Mays asked what might happen if Weese chooses to have a special promotion that draws big crowds, Bellis replied, “I just read (in the proposal) that there’s more cars that can park to cover the minimum number in the lineup.”
Weese admitted that her business unexpectedly outgrew the 3815 Maine location. The Seventh and Broadway location can fit up to 20 cars on private property before spilling onto Seventh Street.
Chris Scholz, a partner with the law firm Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Siebers & Duesterhaus at 625 Vermont, offered his support for the coffee bar.
“Given the property, it’s a pretty good plan,” he told the commission. “I think it fits. … I don’t know what they put in those drinks. I’ve never had one before, but they must be tremendously good.”
Police Chief Rob Copley had expressed earlier concerns about the coffee bar proposal but was satisfied with the changes.
“This design is much better and more conducive to the flow of traffic,” he said.
Chairperson Julie Brink noted that Carter’s Coffee Bar isn’t the first business to cause traffic issues in Quincy.
“There are other commercial businesses that have come back to this commission for additions put on that create traffic issues for the residents of Quincy that we didn’t have this conversation about, because they’re vital to our community and they’re taxpayers and they do things for this community,” she said. “To single out a single business that is successful … I think we address them all or we address none at all.”
The Plan Commission also approved a special permit for planned development for the operation of an on-site water and fire damage restoration business at 2301 and 2315 N. 12th to be owned by Jeff Butler.
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.Purchase Story