McCandless amendment would allow drive-through
McCandless administrators are deciding whether they should loosen up a restriction on part of McKnight Road that doesn't allow drive-through restaurants.
The change would allow only one drive-through: a Panera Bread proposed for inclusion in the fourth stage of the $100 million McCandless Crossing development.
AdVenture Development LLC of Selma, N.C., has applied for a zoning amendment to allow the drive-through at the proposed store, which would be part of what is known as a traditional neighborhood development overlay district that McCandless approved in April 2011.
Currently, drive-through restaurants are not permitted along McKnight from Pine Creek to Perrymont roads on McKnight's west side, and from McCandless Corporate Center on the east, said Bruce Betty, the township's land-use administrator.
McCandless officials' intent with the 1986 restriction was to prevent high-volume traffic and maintain the character of the stretch, he said.
“It's up to council to decide whether or not (an amendment) will detract from that,” Betty said.
The fourth phase of McCandless Crossing covers 40 acres on the east side of McKnight, bordered by Cumberland and Babock roads and Duncan Avenue.
Construction will get under way this summer on the phase, which will include 53 townhouses, a Cinemark movie theater, casual dining restaurants and other businesses, said Bob McGurk, project manager at AdVenture.
It will include a town center, meant to establish an area that people can walk around in getting to businesses and residences.
Warren, Ohio-based Covelli Enterprises, the largest Panera franchise in the country and which has many stores in the Pittsburgh region, has not signed a lease yet to open a Panera in McCandless Crossing, McGurk said.
Representatives from AdVenture and Covelli appeared at a public hearing on the McCandless zoning amendment Feb. 25 and a zoning committee meeting Monday.
Some council members said they were concerned over the amendment's potential negative effects, including traffic and having no control over the type of restaurant that might take Panera's place should it leave McCandless Crossing.
“I am opposed to the plan ... Despite how you spin it, it's a Panera ordinance,” Councilwoman Cynthia Potter said.
Betty said that there are limitations in the proposed amendment, such as requiring the drive-through business to be at least 4,400 square feet, which is twice the size of a typical fast-food restaurant. That would make it challenging for most fast-food businesses to occupy the space. The restaurant also must have a community room.
Of the 220 Panera franchises Covelli has in five states and Toronto, five have drive-throughs, Covelli spokesman Allen Ryan said.
The McCandless location would be the first with a drive-through in the Pittsburgh region, he said.
Panera gets 60 percent of its business between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 95 percent of those customers dine in, he said. Adding a drive-through wouldn't significantly change that volume, he said.
“We spend a lot of time and money on the interiors of these buildings so people can come in and stay,” he said.
Council will vote on the amendment on March 25.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.