Planning Commission OKs drive-thru Panera at Oakland Mall

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 10, 2019

Photo provided by Juli Hansen/Shutterstock

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TROY — A new 4,300-square-foot Panera Bread restaurant with a drive-thru window got the green light for the Oakland Mall parking lot recently.

The Troy Planning Commission unanimously approved a special land use and preliminary site plan Aug. 27 for the drive-thru on just under 1 acre in the south end of the mall parking lot.

The special land use and preliminary site plan were before the Planning Commission June 11, when the commission postponed the matter so the applicant could address a number of concerns: questions on sidewalks, including directional arrows in the site plan; trash enclosure screening details; lighting details; and information about building elevations and materials.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said a special land use is needed for a drive-thru in the general business district.

Currently, there is a credit union with a drive-thru on the site, and that will be removed.

The site plan featured what Community Development Director R. Brent Savidant described as “a sidewalk to nowhere” — a sidewalk to the west of the site that only went to the dumpster, and the Planning Department said the sidewalk should be eliminated.

Scott Marsh, a construction manager speaking for the applicant, explained to the Planning Commission that the sidewalk to the dumpster is needed for employee safety in transporting trash to the dumpster, which is located in the back so it will not be near the outdoor patio eating area.

Marsh added that the center, main sidewalk could be eliminated in order to preserve green space, to which Savidant said, “I don’t believe we should eliminate the sidewalk. I vehemently oppose that.”  The Planning Commission agreed with Savidant.

Marsh explained that lighting, which will be reduced in intensity during nighttime hours, is needed from 11 p.m. until dawn for delivery trucks and for the baker’s arrival, because all of the baking is done at night.

Marsh also explained that the exterior building materials they plan to use have been used in other markets.

“I think it’s blended in well with the masonry product,” Planning Commissioner John Tagle said of the building materials being used.

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