If all goes to plan, there could be a brand new Burger King restaurant with drive-through service, ample landscaping, and a corner lot set-up with an adjacent traffic light in place by the spring of 2024.
That is, of course, if real estate manager John FitzGerald and his site engineers meet the qualifications of the city’s Planning & Development Committee, which so far have included a request to reduce a 17-foot bypass lane, bump up the landscaping, and consider a traffic study.
It’s worth the short move from 230 West Main St., Batavia and special use permit to the corner of South Lyon and West Main Street, FitzGerald said.
“I’d always love an approval the first time, but, you know, the board brought up some legitimate items to discuss. And we'll review those with (site engineer Patrick Mahoney) Pat, and go through those. But I think that everything I heard pretty much made sense,” FitzGerald said after Tuesday’s planning committee meeting. “As far as I know, narrowing this 17-foot lane, we can take that down a little bit, you know, the right in right out (entrance/exit), I think makes sense. Some of the other ones were kind of spitballing. And they're very, very difficult to enact.
“As far as the traffic study … we’re basically moving across the street to a safer, easier, more accessible property. So I don't know, if the state requires it, we will do it.”
FitzGerald, who manages about 350 Burger Kings for Carrols Corp., has been leasing the current site, which will be up soon. His reasons for moving are more about the new location than the one he has been in for at least a few decades.
“There’s nothing wrong with the old one, this is just a better location,” he said. “Again, it's at the traffic light. So it's safer for getting people in and out. It gives you two access points: one on South Lyons and one on Main Street, versus the one we currently have, like a double lead in and out on one side of the store, and then it's got the drive-through exit on the other side. So there's potentially conflicting movements.”
Those conflicting movements happen when motorists attempt to make either a left or right turn out of the current location each simultaneously, he said. He likes having a traffic light at the corner of the new location and stressed the safety factor of the new design. He’s not aware of his current property playing host to accidents, he said, but wants to move on.
The biggest reason is having a traffic light to help with the flow of traffic versus being in mid-block, he said.
“So it’s an easier movement versus the existing store. Not that this was bad, but it’s both 90-degree stalls. So there’s people kind of coming and going in different directions,” FitzGerald said. “This forces everybody to go the same direction in and around the property. And, again, two access points versus one.”
His design team, Mahoney and Peter Sorgi, did all the talking during the meeting, at some points rather pointedly questioning committee member Ed Flynn’s critiques. Flynn latched onto the 17-foot lane as a major sticking point throughout the site plan review.
“Why do you have a 17-foot escape lane?” Flynn said. Sorgi focused on the landscaping, stating that it was “more than was required” by code and the bypass lane was part of a safety measure.
“Right now, I may be the only one talking about the 17-foot excessive lane over here, but I want more landscaping along Lyon Street. Seems like they start out with a lot to offer there. And then, of course, you make a descending (landscaping design) for some reason. The pavement lane is 17 feet, that seems like it can be reduced dramatically.”
Mahoney said that safety to the community is better served by a wider lane, and Sorgi homed in on the safety factor versus aesthetics. Flynn emphasized that his comments weren’t necessarily a consensus of the group.
“That’s why we have more than one board member,” City Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said, to which Sorgi quickly replied, “thank you.”
“The design is where your talent comes in, we’re just here to express concerns of the public,” Randall said.
Mahoney described the ideal “speckled shade” landscaping of crab apple and locust trees, greenery that could survive Western New York’s climate and Main Street’s winter road saltings.
They discussed the parking lot size — committee member Derek Geib asked if four spaces similar to McDonald’s would suffice — the drive-through configuration, trash removal from the dumpster, and how things have changed in the way customers operate.
Mahoney said that no, four spaces would not work. As for the drive-through, there are two order points. There’s a double wide for ordering, and it filters into a single lane for the pickup at the store.
“And then, if you look at the building, to the left of that will be the mobile order stalls. And as we were talking about that, that’s the wave of the future, people don’t want to even really park their car,” FitzGerald said after the meeting. “They just want to pull up and have somebody run out.
"This is the way the industry is going, that's everywhere, surburban, rural, urban. People today, it's either drive-through or over their phone," he said. "We're trying to make it safer for people on the property. It's just the wave of the future."
FitzGerald is to return with an updated site plan in September or October. His first meeting was in June, which introduced the project and plan to demolish two major current business buildings.