A fourth McDonald’s location may soon be constructed in Delaware as the Delaware Planning Commission voted on Wednesday to approve the recommendation of a combined preliminary and final development for a new restaurant to be constructed on Sunbury Road, directly east of Raising Cane’s.
The 1.44-acre property is located on the south side of U.S. Route 36/state Route 37, east of Mill Run Crossing, and is an outparcel of the Glennwood Commons Shopping Center. McDonald’s is proposing a 3,694-square-foot restaurant with dual drive-thru lanes. The site would have 49 parking spaces with one full-movement curb cut from the internal shopping center access road and one right-in-only curb cut along the entry drive to the shopping center. There would be no direct access to the site from Sunbury Road.
Delaware City Council approved a mixed-use commercial, office, and residential rezoning for 150 acres that included the Glenwood Commons Shopping Center in 2006, and the site has gone through various changes and development since that time. With fast food restaurants becoming a common thread along the outparcels of the shopping center, Commissioner Dean Prall asked during the meeting about any existing guidelines in the development text relating to limiting the number of standalone restaurants in the outparcels of the shopping center. No such limitations exist for the shopping center.
Gary Dota, who lives in the Kensington neighborhood near the location of the proposed restaurant, was on hand to speak during the meeting about the traffic concerns the McDonald’s may add to an already busy intersection at Sunbury Road and Mill Run Crossing.
“That will end up being the biggest nightmare in all of the city of Delaware, I swear,” Dota said of the intersection and the addition of more cars in the area daily. “Not just because I live where I live, but because of all that’s being added to that intersection, from the county building with 500 cars to the apartments they want to build, the 360 houses. At some point, if it ever ends up happening with Byxbe Highway, that’s going to help. But I think a lot of what is going to occur is going to occur way before Byxbe gets finished.”
Dota, who also pointed out the trend of the outparcels becoming a row of restaurants, added that other restaurants along Sunbury Road have recently been constructed further east, away from Mill Run Crossing to mitigate some of the additional traffic strains on that intersection.
Commissioner George Stroud acknowledged Dota’s concerns but noted that even if the McDonald’s location was shifted further east, the outparcel adjacent to Raising Cane’s would still be developed eventually.
Speaking on the notion of the area becoming a row of fast-food restaurants with no limits in place, Planning and Zoning Administrator Anna Kelsey said, “I think as we’re working on transitioning to some new procedures and new planning and zoning processes, we’ll have more ability to potentially look at being more creative in how we limit a specific number of uses within a PUD as we move forward with different agreements so we don’t end up with a sea of drive-thrus at every out lot.”
Kelsey added, “In addition, this development dates back to 2007. It didn’t develop as fast as it was intended to because of (the) 2008 (recession). Now, 15 years later, we are left with making it the best it can be based on parameters from 15 years ago. That’s why, at the request of our city engineer, Bill Ferrigno, we’ve worked with the applicant to shift the access to the site to have more cross-access between sites so we can minimize the number of curb cuts on the backage roads. We only have a toolbox as big as the one we were given, and we have to work within the confines of that toolbox.
“So, I truly think this is a good plan for a standalone drive-thru restaurant in a row of other standalone drive-thru restaurants. But I certainly think this is an important conversation and one that as a staff and this body, we will encourage consideration as we work on some of those procedures and policies in the coming year or two.”
With a unanimous vote by the commission, the proposal will now go before Delaware City Council for final approval.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.