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Commerce Hill McDonald's clears first hurdle

A new McDonald's at Commerce Hill is one step closer to reality.

The Woodbury Planning Commission approved an application for the fast food restaurant, Tuesday, Sept. 18, following a discussion regarding traffic flow and pedestrian access.

Commissioners added conditions to the plans that would allow pedestrian walkways from Commerce Drive and internally within the development.

The plans also call for additional space to eliminate congestion from vehicles going into the drive-thru.

The new restaurant would be the city's second McDonald's location. It is slated to be located to the south of Commerce Drive and west of Woodbury Drive near the existing SuperTarget that opened in 2010.

Commerce Hill is zoned as a retail- and office-use development anchored by SuperTarget and CorTrust Bank.

McDonald's will have 96 seats and a two-lane drive-thru window.

Planning Commission Member Mark Schulz referenced the current McDonald's congestion on Weir Drive during peak times and wondered if the new plans call for better traffic flow.

City Planner Eric Searles said the current ordinance calls for six stacking spaces going into the drive-thru, but the plans will be modified to request that 20 spaces should be required for this location.

"That's what we're seeing an appropriate number as a minimum," he said. "Certainly there are going to be times where it's going to be busier than that."

But he said the two way traffic within the parking lot and the ability for drivers to park and head inside the restaurant will help reduce congestion.

"There gets to be a point where individuals are not interested in waiting in that long of a line," Searles said.

There are currently three access points off of Commerce Drive into the SuperTarget. McDonald's will have the same entrance points, but will have one exit, according to the plans.

Commissioners discussed whether the traffic that will be shared with potential future retailers at the exit point will be smooth enough.

Searles said when the application for the retail building to the east is received; it will be a good check in point to see if modification will be needed.

"This is a best effort with striping, signage, some modification," he said.

A ground breaking date has not been set for the Commerce Hill McDonald's, however, a spokesperson said it is expected to be up and running a year from now.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.