Council gets request for organic fast food drive-thru

A rendering of the proposed restaurant at 2628 Gross Point Road.

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to discuss a request for a special use permit to open an organic fast food drive-thru restaurant at the former gas station site at Crawford Avenue and Gross Point Road.

Nic's Organic Fast Food currently has one other location, in Rolling Meadows, but hopes to open 50 new franchise locations within the next three years.

The proposed two-story building would have a basement for storage, a ground floor restaurant ad a small second floor mezzanine with customer seating overlooking a green roof area.

A site plan of the proposed restaurant.

A staff memo prepared for the City Council meeting indicates that the owners of Nic's have reached an agreement with owners of the adjacent Sarkis Cafe to repave and restripe the Sarkis parking lot to provide six additional parking spaces that would be used by employees of Nic's.

Related story

Organic fast food planned on Gross Point (6/12/17)

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Comments

What they will have to overcome

When Chase Bank wanted to open a branch there it ran into strong NIMBY opposition based largely on traffic impact.  I would think fast food restaurant would generate at least as much traffic as a bank. Part of the EN coverage is here.

There was also strong opposition to anohter fast food spot near there. story is here.

Seemingly similar but actually not at all

The Chase bank originally wanted to have two lots west of the alley, behind the current property,  re-zoned from residentual to business.  They changed this to one lot based on the citys objection/recommendation.  There was strong support in the earea to not allow re-zoning of residentual land and Chase was unwilling to use only the corner lot zoned for business that Nics is interested.  Otherwise there would be a bank there now.  

Don't really know the story behind the McDonalds, but cannot imagine any places in Evanston that would be happy to have one....

I am a neighbor and am ok

I am a neighbor and am ok with Nic's as long as their proposal fits into the regulations.  Once they start asking for different variances then I think it is fair to question the impact.  The current regulations are there for a reason and were not just arbitrarily adopted.

In most any similar situation on this website you will find the same people posting anonymously using the NIMBY mantra as if it were their job.  One of them was very vocal in opposition to another fast food establishment just down the block.  Keep up the good work C (eyes rolling).

Bad idea ... for numerous reasons

Putting aside the laughable irony of driving your car and idling in line to get organic food, there are valid reasons why this should be denied:

We already have loud delivery trucks parking on Central Street to service the Starbucks. Where will delivery trucks serving the proposed restaurant park? On Crawford or Gross Point Rd.? Neither is a good situation.

Only 5 parking spaces? Really? So they will actively discourage eat-in diners and encourage people to sit in line, burning gas.

Patrons arriving from the north on Gross Point will only be able to exit southbound. Huh?

Actually, everyone will be forced to go south bound. To go back northbound. Rather than making the long loop by going south to Harrison, people will drive through the neighborhood. See map HERE. Traffic will increase on Prospect!

The sidewalk proposed along Crawford leads to nowhere. i.e. There is no sidewalk, north of the alley, on that side of Crawford. (There certainly should be, extending to Old Glenview Road! But will the City install one?)

The arrows indicate that traffic in the parking lot must travel British style. i.e the reverse of our driving regulations. That is plain nuts. Nobody will do it. 

We don't want the liter that a fast food restaurant will generate. We already get enough in this area.

This is an ill conceived idea for a 3.5 star Yelp rated restaurant. We just don't need more fast food.

Nimby player of the week

"Where will delivery trucks serving the proposed restaurant park? On Crawford or Gross Point Rd.?" 

Answer - the same place where delivery trucks park for the Sarkis Restaurant.

"Actually, everyone will be forced to go south bound." Answer - same situation with Sarkis.I don't hear anyone complaining.

"The sidewalk proposed along Crawford leads to nowhere." So. Better to have a sidewalk than not. A sidewalk leading to nowhere is not an adequate reason to oppose this restuarant.

"The arrows indicate that traffic in the parking lot must travel British style. i.e the reverse of our driving regulations." Other restaurants have this but the directions can easily be switched if it's a problem.

"We don't want the liter that a fast food restaurant will generate." You mean litter? Another silly reason to oppose the project. 

Out of 128 reviews,  Google reviews gives Nics a 4 star rating

Why didn't you mention you live near the proposed project, John? 

Bad Idea

"Where will delivery trucks serving the proposed restaurant park? On Crawford or Gross Point Rd.?" 

Answer - the same place where delivery trucks park for the Sarkis Restaurant.

Response: You don't know that. I assume that trucks serving Sarkis park in the parking lot north of and adjacent to Sarkis. i.e. the lot that CVS owns. Even if Sarkis and Sarkis agreed to give Nic's permission to off-load in their parking lot they could later retract their permission.

"Actually, everyone will be forced to go south bound." Answer - same situation with Sarkis.I don't hear anyone complaining.

Response: It's not the same situation. You can exit from Sarkis' parking lot and drive north on Gross Point Road. Since you seem to have missed it, let me clarify: I'm complaining. 

"The sidewalk proposed along Crawford leads to nowhere." So. Better to have a sidewalk than not. A sidewalk leading to nowhere is not an adequate reason to oppose this restuarant.

Response: Better? The proposed sidewalk would encourage people walk north on Crawford to cross at the end of the walk rather than crossing at the existing signaled crosswalk. It's a matter of safety. Mostly, I like the idea of a continuous sidewalk extending from Gross Point Road to Old Glenview Road. Why shouldn't it? Why doesn't it?

"The arrows indicate that traffic in the parking lot must travel British style. i.e the reverse of our driving regulations." Other restaurants have this but the directions can easily be switched if it's a problem.

Response: The City's Traffic Engineering Dept. requires a drawing that shows vehicle turning radii superimposed on the project plan. It's not clear if the turning radii will work in either case. Has the City Council seen this plan? 

"We don't want the liter that a fast food restaurant will generate." You mean litter? Another silly reason to oppose the project.

Response: Yes, I mean litter. The reason may be silly to you, but it's not to me. There is already a great deal of trash blowing around the area from four existing restaurants and slobs throwing their trash on the ground in the CVS parking lot. 

Out of 128 reviews,  Google reviews gives Nic's a 4 star rating 

Response: I just looked again and see the same results I saw yesterday. 3.5 stars and 93 reviews. (Screen shot HERE.) In any case, it's doesn't really matter if they have 1 or 5 stars. There are already four Type 2 restaurants at this confluence of Central, Crawford and Gross Point Rd. And CVS sells food to go as well. Two of the restaurants already sell hamburgers. There is an undesireable cumulative effect.

Why didn't you mention you live near the proposed project, John? 

Response: Well, it's highly unlikely that I would be writing if I lived in South Evanston, Downtown or elsewhere. Meanwhile, why didn't you mention where you live?

Nics Evanston

There is no difference from the traffic at the starbucks strip than what Nic's is proposing. I welcome Nic's to Evanston.

Furthermore, I've eaten at Nic's in their Rolling Meadows location and its very good.

Starbuck's parking

Starbuck's parking is a nightmare. Developer received numerous variances including one that reduced the required number of spaces after presenting skewed traffic study claiming that the minimum spaces wouldn't be necessary. The lot is not large enough to accomodate two cars exiting from opposed spaces. Plenty of fender benders there as well as numerous accidents involving exiting vehicles.

Sarkis' does not own the lot to the North which overflows on busy days.

Re: Nimby

if the community doesn’t want the land developed, maybe they or the city should purchase the parcel and erect a monument of Wally on a pedestal? 

Information

Nic's owns the lot and if they wanted to build immediately they could with the removal of the drive through. However in that scenario the parking situation would worsen. I think folks are forgetting this. 

I assumed that the agreement

I assumed that the agreement with Sarkis means that Nic's customers will be allowed to park in that lot, too. Doesn't matter to me -- I live in the neighborhood and don't have a car. I welcome any other store or restaurant that actually manages to overcome the usual tiresome NIMBY complaints to open business in this part of town. 

City Of Evanston Needs to Resolve Parking & Traffic Not Nics

Agreed Andrew. The issues that have arrised from a perfectly sound and well thought out concept are City Of Evanston issues. The individuals complaining should take up their concerns with Evanston and enforce that police regulate the offsite parking in residential neighborhoods/ streets. Furthermore police should monitor traffic during busy times througout the day. What about crossing guards on busy streets during school days? Instead of complaining to the zoning board and counsel they should be taking up their concerns with City Of Evanston and fixing the problem. Ticketing, towing, police enforcement, etc. A new business that will contribute greatly to Evanston and the area should not be slammed for this. 

When a business is requesting

When a business is requesting a special use permit or any other variance, ZBA and City Council are the precise forums for discussion/objection to the most perfectly sound and well thought out concepts. EPD does not grant or deny such requests.

Parking & Traffic

You are correct however City Of Evanston does control parking and traffic. People who have these issues should take them to City of Evanston, not a zoning or council issue. Furthermore, the police should be heavily involved in these matters- not the businesses. 


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