Parking debate stalls Wild Wings project
Construction of a second Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar is on the back burner until a parking question is settled by the Rochester City Council.
In the fall, Tom Graf, who owns the BWW in northwest Rochester, bought the Pannekoeken Huis restaurant building and land in front of the Crossroads Shopping Center on South Broadway. He demolished the restaurant to clear the way to build a 6,000-square-foot, stand-alone Buffalo Wild Wings with the goal to open in time for the March college basketball tournaments.
The Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department approved the project's development plan on Dec. 7. That plan requires 55 parking spaces, 35 on Graf's plot of land and 20 spaces nearby in the Crossroads parking lot.
However, a mound of dirt at 1201 S. Broadway remains untouched weeks later as the owners of the Crossroads Shopping Center and Andy's Liquor are contesting the Buffalo Wild Wings permit as not meeting city parking standards.
Bob Meek and Vic Scott own the Crossroads center and Gus Chafoulias owns the Andy's Liquor store, which is close to the proposed Wild Wings project. Both businesses are represented by Rochester attorney Ken Moen.
Their appeal claims the number of parking spaces required for the restaurant was incorrectly calculated because it incorrectly considers the Buffalo Wild Wings property as part of the business center.
If the proposed restaurant is not part of the Crossroads business center, Moen says Buffalo Wild Wings should be required to have 84 parking spaces, which is 29 more than the current permit requires.
Brent Svenby, a senior planner with the city, says it is a standard practice to consider free-standing buildings as part of a business center, if they share access and are part of a shared parking agreement.
An example is the Paragon Chateau theater/ShopKo North center in northeast Rochester. While the commercial complex that includes the Hot Fish Shop and BB's Pizza is under different ownership, the city considers it to be part of the business center.
On Jan. 4, six members of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals heard the complaints of Crossroads and Andy's. The board voted unanimously to uphold the Buffalo Wild Wings permit approval and deny the complainants' appeals.
The Crossroads' owners and Chafoulias are now appealing the case to the Rochester City Council, and it's on the agenda for the Feb. 6 meeting.
Svenby estimates that about once a year a zoning dispute case goes to the council. After the council rules, the only recourse is to take the case to civil court.