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Hardee's biscuits create traffic hazard
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Hardee’s is known for its made-from-scratch biscuits that have been its trademark since the 1970s. McMinnville officials are once again concerned with traffic congestion created around Hardee’s in the mornings, most likely caused by those famous biscuits.
“I’m concerned with the side entrance to Hardee’s,” said Alderman Mike Neal, who is Safety Committee chairman. “That’s the one where I hear more flack and the one I have witnessed more traffic problems, personally, than the one in front of Tire Mart. About every Saturday morning, it becomes an obstacle course. You have cars going both ways. Then, you have one in the turning lane and one vehicle trying to come out of the parking lot. It’s definitely an accident waiting for the right timing.”
Neal says he originally thought traffic could be routed around the building in a circular pattern but after talking to a former manager he was told the way cars were parked would make it impossible for patrons to get out once they had parked.
“I don’t know if they need to reconfigure the way they are parking or what,” said Neal. “I would like to see us ask the state to come look at that and give us some direction, especially on the weekends, as to what we need to do to abate the interruption of traffic flow and possibly an accident. I think that is definitely a safety issue.”
City attorney Tim Pirtle says the congestion problem isn’t caused by the state and could be lessened if Hardees would reconfigure its parking lot to take advantage of two drive-thru order boards.
“They have an entire lane, maybe even two lanes, plus property at the backside of the lot. Nobody has ever parked back there and they don’t use it for the drive-thru,” said Pirtle. “McDonald’s had a problem like Hardee’s but they redesigned the traffic flow on their property to accommodate two lanes to go to the drive-thru window. Hardee’s is just using one lane and letting the public right of way serve as its backup.”
Pirtle suggested the city ask Hardee’s to fix its parking lot problem or the city will be forced to designate the side as an entrance and the front as an exit.
Hardee’s does have two drive-thru order boards. However, the one closest to the building is on commercial property and the one furthest from the building is on residential property. An existing city ordinance prohibits movement of vehicles on the residential lot between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
In 2011, representatives from Hardee’s asked the Board of Zoning Appeals for a one-hour variance that would allow it to use the outermost order board when the business opens at 5 a.m. due to the other order board being non-operational. Neighbor John Douglass urged against the measure and board members rejected the request.
Pirtle informed the committee he will research the situation and get back to them with what he finds.