Common Council approves Dunkin Donuts plan
The conditional use permit for a 1,920 square foot Dunkin Donuts restaurant with drive-thru to be located at 4028 – 75th Street was approved by the Common Council tonight. John Clark from Dunkin Donuts presented three alternatives:
Alternative #1) The original plan, approved by Dunkin Donuts standards, meets all of the city’s criteria.
Alternative # 2) The City Plan Commission recommended enclosing the entire walk-in cooler with brick all the way up.
Alternative # 3) The third alternative was to brick around the back of the walk-in cooler only half way up.
Clark stated that this is the first Dunkin Donuts restaurant in the area, and that they are looking to possibly add two or three restaurants in the future. He stated that “it will cost an extra $20,000 to $25,000 to build Alternative # 2 and, at that cost, it won’t be feasible to do two or three restaurants. If we do three, it would bring 60 to 90 jobs into the buildings. We would be taking vacant buildings and developing new construction. If Alternative # 2 or # 3 is approved, we’d have to go back to Dunkin Donuts. They may not want to develop then. My recommendation would be to go with approving 60 to 90 jobs.”
Alderperson Anthony Kennedy stated that he takes responsibility for how the issue got to the Common Council floor. He stated that Alternative # 3 was not presented at the City Plan Commission meeting. He said that he supported Alternative # 3 because he felt that it was a reasonable accommodation. City staff is recommending Alternative # 2.
Alderperson Steve Bostrom asked community development and inspections director Jeff LaBahn to explain the thought process behind the additional changes. “The stone veneer treatment is minimal. The cooler is not contained in the building. It was an attachment to the building. It seemed like an afterthought to the commission. In order to tie it in to the balance of the building, they wanted the brickwork done all the way up. Alternative # 3 surfaced after the City Plan Commission meeting in response to the discussion.” Bostrom then asked what the difference in cost was between Alternative # 1 and Alternative # 3. The answer given was $20,000 to $22,000. If Alternative # 2 is chosen, it would be an additional $32,000 to $35,000 to enclose the whole walk-in with brick, plus the additional brick veneer. Therefore, Alternative # 2 is the most expensive.
Mark Schneider, the other Dunkin Donuts representative present at the meeting, explained that there would be some credits in not doing the hard stucco and doing the veneer instead. They would also have to build a building around the cooler. They can’t attach the materials to the metal-clad cooler. Bostrom again asked for the reasons to not enclose the cooler with brick. The reasons given were that it was prohibitive of repair/maintenance costs if and when cars hit it. If it’s not all bricked in, they can simply pull the panel off and replace it with a new one. They would be covering it with textured paint to match. Schneider further stated that Dunkin Donuts doesn’t like to enclose them. “There’s not enough space in the lot.” Bostrom stated that he doesn’t want to break the back of developers who are bringing jobs to the city. He holds Kenosha in higher standard, but stated that he was willing to support Alternative # 3.
Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia summarized the difference. “Basically, there’s a difference of $20,000 between Alternative # 1 and Alternative # 3. For three stores, that’s $60,000.” Clark further stated that any cost overruns would be in addition to that amount. “During our final walk-through today, we found out the building is full of asbestos. It would have to be bagged before demolition of the building could take place. Not one of our stores has come in at budget yet. The investors would be concerned. Bringing the business to Kenosha is a tough call. Then, if we do three? We have to watch what we do here.”
Alderperson Eric Haugaard asked if the enclosure on Alternative # 2 included a roof, and LaBahn stated that it did. “Is it only accessible from the inside of the building?” And, the answer was yes. Alternative # 3 is 3-1/2 feet of brick veneer. Haugaard wanted to know how it was attached to the cooler. He stated that he understands that the device is not a surface meant to be bonded to. Clark said that the cost includes boring down and building a subspace building to keep it water tight around the cooler. He stated that they preferred Alternative # 1. “It’s the most economical. It’s very important to us.”
Mayor Keith Bosman wanted to know what the cost of the building was. Clark replied, “$395,000 for the building, plus $300,000 for the interior, for a total of $600,000.”
Alderperson Michael Orth wanted to know how Dunkin Donuts was going to keep people from climbing or sitting on the 3-1/2 foot wall. “How will you keep people from dropping things between the cooler and the wall? It seems to me that this would be a safety hazard.” He also asked if it made any noise, and was told that the roof-top units buffer any noise. He also stated that the proposal is better than having a vacant building, like we do now. “I don’t know how you ever managed to strike a deal with the owners. Getting in touch with them was next to impossible whenever we had to reach them for a question or talk to them about an issue.”
Alderperson G. John Ruffolo went back to the cost of the building again. He stated that he was talking to the manager of Culver’s, and he was told that they spent $325,000 to remodel the interior of that restaurant. “So, I find it kind of odd that you’re saying $600,000 for the whole thing. I agree with the wall going all the way up.”
Alderperson Daniel Prozanski brought up the issue of there being coolers in front of gas stations that sell ice; they have no walls around them. “I’m sure if their equipment was damaged or people were messing with them, they’d construct a wall with city approval. I say no wall or a half-wall.”
Alderperson Ray Misner thanked them for “bringing the opportunity to Kenosha, plus any future expansion plans. I hope more follow you.”
Alderperson Tod Ohnstad asked the reps to explain it again. Alternative # 1 is the aluminum-clad refrigeration unit, 9 feet tall, and 15 feet wide. The paint would have a coating to match the colors of the building. “Dunkin Donuts wants to upgrade their image,” Clark explained. “They are particular about the outside of their buildings. They require a full remodel every 10 years, and a partial remodel every five years. They are very strict. They are a growing company in the United States, and they are moving west. This is their first push. The plan is to build three. I wish the mayor of Oak Creek could be here, but he passed away. He could have explained to you what we do in the community. Give us that chance.”
Ohnstad stated that the city cares a lot about the exterior. “It’s evident that the company is also interested in how the building looks.”
Orth asked if the vote was to turn down Alternative # 2, could the vote then be made for Alternative # 1, and city attorney Ed Antaramian said yes.
Ruffolo asked the mayor what his choice would be since he sits on the City Plan Commission, and the mayor responded that he likes the third option.
The roll call vote on Alternative # 2 failed by a count of 1 to 16. Ruffolo was the only one to vote yes. Then, the roll call vote on Alternative # 1 passed by a vote of 13 to 4 (Alderpersons Michalski, Ruffolo, Marks and Kennedy voted against).