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McDonald's, Auto Zone Tabled; Planning Commission Cites Lack of Traffic Plan

Developers propose building in the northeast corner at the intersection of Drake and Grand River in Farmington Hills.

Developers who plan to build an AutoZone auto supply store and a McDonald's restaurant in the northeast corner of Grand River and Drake left Thursday's Farmington Hills Planning Commission disappointed. 

The commission tabled consideration of both site plans, pending approval of an access management plan that would define traffic flow for the two businesses. Commissioners noted the plan was a condition of a lot split that has yet to be approved. 

"It's a bit of a delay that we would have prefered not to have," said Tom Gergich, McDonald's area real estate manager. 

City planning consultant Rod Arroyo said the AutoZone building will be a one-story structure. He noted there was a 10-foot miscalculation, which will require the entire plan to be shifted. But that may be good news for some of the trees; the developer was proposing the elimination of nine honey locusts.

"We don't like to take down trees that are very well established, and those are," planning commissioner Glenn Fleischhacker said.

Planning Commission chair Christopher McRae made a pitch for improving walkability across the sites.

"This area of Farmington Hills has a very high percentage of people who walk," he said, suggesting that developers consider something like the sidewalk spur that is part of the CVS property at the corner of 13 Mile and Orchard Lake. 

The plans both include sharing an access point on Grand River, using an existing property entrance or "curb cut". Arroyo expressed concerns about traffic stacking and queueing and suggested the shared access move to the rear of the property.

Commissioners Duke Orr and Mara Topper both brought up the traffic issues that occur at the McDonald's at 12 Mile and Halsted Roads. That restaurant is located adjacent to a shopping center with a busy Panera Bread; cars often back up onto 12 Mile, Topper said. 

Gergich said the company will come back to the Planning Commission next month with the access plan and other requested revisions. He estimated construction will begin in the spring. 

Vera Lucksted September 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM
There is a McDonald's 1.25 miles west on Ten Mile and 1.25 miles east on Orchard Lake. Do we really need another one? Could AutoZone move into one of the vacant buildings in downtown? I'm certain the former hardware store or Office Max? Depot? building would be large enough for them.
Therese Norris September 21, 2012 at 11:43 AM
There is no need for a McDonald's. Allowing them to build at Grand River and Drake would just suck away the business of the well established McDonald's on Ten Mile. And as far as an AutoZone goes, what about the O'Reilly's Auto Parts that is to the East on Grand River, not even a 1/4 mile away. I'm not trilled at this potential development.
Roz Keith September 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM
We don't need another McDonald's or another auto supply. Riley's is right across the street. How about an office max or staples? Or what about a Five Below? Johnny Pomodoros?
bill September 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM
We dont need another McDonalds or auto parts store (one right across the street). People keep talking about a fruit market. There is one in downtown Farmington that no one frequents. With Busch's across the street the fruit market idea would be tough.
Roberta Berndt September 21, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I keep saying it ...Hobby Lobby!! either there or in the old Kmart building.

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