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Plan commission sends Panda Express developers back to the drawing board

Plan commission sends Panda Express developers back to the drawing board

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Crown Point City Hall — Stock

CROWN POINT — Panda Express representatives will have to literally go back to the drawing board before returning next month to the Plan Commission.

The Plan Commission deferred for 30 days a site development request from Valentino Mancini, project manager and an architect for Panda Express.

Project representatives are seeking the city's approval for a 2,300-square-foot restaurant proposed for property on Broadway north of 109th Avenue.

Several on the Plan Commission, including planner Dan Rohaley, said he wasn't happy with the architectural changes made following the meeting last month and presented on Monday.

"It still looks like a box," Rohaley said.

City Councilwoman Laura Sauerman, a Plan Commission member, also voiced her concerns.

"I'm disappointed with the architectural changes because they are not as we asked," Sauerman said.

Mancini said he had gone back to the design guidelines to follow Williamsburg style guidelines.

"We looked at all materials and feel all are high quality," Mancini said.

Mancini said the Panda Express chain is more focused on branding but also blending in with the style of the city.

Other concerns Mancini addressed was making changes to the proposed drive-thru so cars don't obstruct traffic around the development.

"We went back and massaged the drive-thru," Mancini said.

A final concern addressed by the Plan Commission was with the number of parking spaces — there are 30 in the proposed plans but the requirement is 35, city officials said.

Mancini said that the business could add five more parking spaces if it had an agreement with an adjacent business to share five spaces.

Planners agreed that it would accept that proposal if a written agreement between both businesses was presented at the October meeting.

While adhering to Crown Point's design guidelines, Panda Express wants to “find that balance” to ensure the company is “recognized in the community and there's a consistency across the nation,” Mancini said.

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