Coffee Shop view west

The Sun Prairie Plan Commission on May 12 rejected the concept plan for this Starbucks location proposed for the corner of Bird and Main streets.

If good intentions counted, developer Tony Humphrey may have received an approval recommendation for his Starbuck’s concept plan near the intersection of Bird and West Main streets from the Sun Prairie Plan Commission on May 12.

But the commission’s reaction to the developer’s 2,000 square foot drive-through coffee shop was, “good idea, bad location” when it voted 7-1 to send it to the city council’s Committee of the Whole with a non-support recommendation.

City staff recommended against the plan, but urged Humphrey to continue to work with the city to bring a different proposal that includes a larger redevelopment area “with greater building massing and site design” to enable better use of land.

Sherbrooke Drive resident Marc Borland supported Humphrey’s concept plan. “I support the proposal,” Borland wrote in an email submitted before Tuesday night’s meeting. “It will be good to see a business back at this blighted corner, it’s been too long.”

But commissioners disagreed.

District 1 Alder and commissioner Steve Stocker said he was contacted by a constituent concerned for the safety of pedestrians in the area, adding that a coffee shop would only add to the congestion at the intersection.

“One of his concerns,” Stocker said, referring to the constituent who contacted him, “was the safety of the children walking to school in the area.”

Sun Prairie School Board member and commissioner Dave Hoekstra called it “an awesome proposal” but not at a good location. “Bird and Main is just a prominent intersection in Sun Prairie . . . and I don’t think this fits,” Hoekstra commented.

Commissioner Paul Schulte recalled the parcel of land has sat vacant since Paul’s Bar was demolished on Jan. 2, 2013, and without a business there for longer than that because the space sat empty before it was demolished.

Given the requirements to develop at the corner, Schulte said, he wondered how much longer it will remain vacant. “While this particular occupancy is not most ideal . . . it does bring some activity to that corner,” Schulte said, and gets development going there.

While saying he respected what Schulte said, Stocker said he could not support the proposal until it more closely resembles the vision from the Central Main Street Corridor Plan.

“I like the prospect of a Starbucks on the southwest corner here,” Mayor Paul Esser said.

But he added he wanted to see a more comprehensive development effort that would include the property Humphrey owns to the west as well as working with Dane County Housing Authority on their properties to the south.

The commission voted not to support the concept plan, with Schulte voting no. Alders will next discuss the plan as part of a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

School changes backed

Acting on staff recommendations, the commission voted unanimously to recommend council approval of a General Development Plan (GDP) amendment of the Smith’s Crossing GDP to allow for daycare center uses within the Office/Business District and Precise Implementation Plan (PIP) to allow for the construction of a single-story daycare, Goddard School, with space for 152 children on lot 2 at 2552 Jenny Wren Trail.

In a commission memo, City Planner Philip Gritzmacher Jr. wrote the original GDP for Smith’s Crossing specified that only one lot – Lot 421 – could site a daycare. In 2007, the area containing Lot 421 was replatted and for single family homes. Veridian Homes has proposed amending the Smith’s Crossing GDP in two ways to allow development of the daycare.

Vet clinic changes OK’d

Acting on a city planning staff recommendation, the commission voted unanimously to allow an amendment to an approved PIP allow Innovative Vet Practices to construct a drive-thru veterinary clinic at 2710 Prairie Lakes Drive in the Bunny’s Trail development near Woodman’s Market.

City Planning Director Tim Semmann wrote in a memo that in 2016, a PIP was approved for this site to allow a drive-through pet clinic. Permits were never pulled and the project was not constructed.

In 2019, the PIP was re-approved by the city council because the prior PIP lapsed. The new request made several changes to the design, most significant being the reduction of the size of the building by 450 sq. ft.

Two more parking stalls have been added to the site plan and the drive aisles for the drive-through vet clinic have been enlarged from 11 to 16 feet in width.

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