Gardner Planning Commission Recommends Rezoning for DQ

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Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Feb. 28 meeting of the planning commission was held at the Gardner Senior Center located at 128 E. Park Street, due to audio-visual technology upgrades currently being installed in city hall council chambers. The commission separately considered rezoning requests for two properties.

Dairy Queen
A request to rezone four lots in order to make way for a new Dairy Queen restaurant that will be located at 518 East Main Street was considered. A car wash is now at that location. Next door to the east is Reece Nichols Realty, which is included in the rezoning. Both of these properties are currently zoned C-2 (General Business).
There are two residential properties directly north of the two Main Street properties, 517 E. Shawnee and 116 N. White Drive. They are currently zoned R-2 (Two Family Residential).
The rezoning would change all four properties to CP-2 (Planned General Business). The realty office will remain as a single lot, while the other three will become one and the site of the proposed Dairy Queen.
In addition to the rezoning request, the commission was presented with a detailed preliminary development plan. Representatives of Dairy Queen were in attendance and gave presentations.
There is an open storm water drainage way running down the middle of those four properties currently. Dairy Queen plans to install a 260 foot long box culvert to handle the northbound drainage.
A new vehicular access point off Main Street will be added as the principal traffic entry point for the DQ. The existing access point for traffic on Main to turn into the realty office will be eliminated. Visitors to the realty office will access the business via White Drive.
The DQ will sit on the two west side lots, with the northwest side used to route traffic to the restaurant’s drive through window.
The existing residential structures on 116 N. White Drive and 517 East Shawnee would be demolished. The lot on White Drive will be converted into a parking lot.
The restaurant will seat 72 inside and feature a Main Street facing outdoor patio that will seat 20 more.
Commission discussion included questions about handicap access, sidewalk width and road right of way.
Commission members voted to forward recommendation to approve the rezoning request and preliminary development plan to city council, subject to conditions being met.

White Drive
The owners of the property at 133 N. White Drive have requested a rezoning from R-2, Two Family Residential to R-3, Garden Apartment District.
The existing building on the property is divided into three residential units but the owners can only rent two because of the R-2 zoning.
A neighboring property owner, who attended both meetings, is opposed to the rezoning. She is concerned that at some point in the future, the rezoning could allow a larger apartment building to be built.
This item was presented at the January commission meeting. It was tabled to explore possible options that might accommodate both property owners.
Staff recommendation to rezone to R-3 has not changed since last meeting.
Kelly Drake Woodward, chief planner, gave a detailed presentation of data the staff considered in reviewing the request.
Staff added options for ‘conditional rezoning’.
“Kansas law does indicate that the planning commission has some authority to attach reasonable conditions to a zoning determination,”, Woodward said.
In this case, the condition added by commission states that “any future redevelopment of this parcel will be limited to no more than three units, two and a half stories or 35 feet in height.”
The commission voted to forward recommendation to approve the rezoning request with the added conditions to city council.
The planning commission is scheduled to meet next on March 28.