The Lowell Planning Commission held a special meeting last night to consider a special land use permit application and site plan for a Culver’s restaurant proposed for the corner of Main and Church Streets. The location is currently a vacant lot, and the Culver’s will be next to a Jimmy John’s which is already under construction.
The meeting ran for approximately 40 minutes, and all commissioners were present except Marty Chambers, whose absence was excused.
Lowell Deemed “Great Fit” for Restaurant
Four representatives of the project were present for the planning commission meeting, including Steve Stephan who has owned and operated the Cascade location of Culver’s for 16 years. The chain has 800 restaurants, but they are all independently owned and operated.
“We see a great fit for Culver’s in Lowell,” Stephan said while addressing the commission. He noted the Cascade location employed a handful of Lowell residents and had regular customers from the community as well. “We see Lowell as a great community to extend [the] hospitality that Culver’s is known for.”
The restaurant expects to employ 60-70 workers at a wage that is “more than what you’re seeing on the windows on Main Street right now,” according to Stephan.
Culver’s of Lowell plans to have 34 table tops with seats for 101 diners. There will also be a drive thru option. The restaurant will be 130 feet away from the homes located to the north.
Parking Main Issue of Discussion
Since the restaurant includes a drive thru, a special land use permit is required. A public hearing was held last night regarding the permit, but no comments were received.
The only area of significant discussion pertained to the number of parking spaces. The Culver’s application calls for 73 parking spots which is well in excess of the 44 required by the city’s zoning ordinance.
“History has said we need these spaces to be successful,” said Matt Cole, an engineer who helped draft the plans. He noted this was his 9th Culver’s project. “We have a higher percentage of clients who come in to eat,” he added.
While some fast-food restaurants have mainly drive thru traffic, approximately 50-60% of Culver’s customers will dine in. The restaurant also expects to have 18 employees working at a time and will need spaces for them.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the special land use permit and site plan for Culver’s.