The Olympia Site Plan Review Committee held a presubmission hearing on a proposal for remodeling the former Howard's Cleaners building at 606 Union Avenue SE into a coffee shop and motorcycle repair and retail shop.
In the narrative submitted to the committee, the project is a tenant improvement to an existing building with additional 155 square feet to the west side of the building to facilitate a drive-thru window for a coffee shop.
Planned tenant improvements for Revival Motors & Coffee Co. include:
The building previously housed a dry-cleaning business that closed in 2017.
Revival Motors & Coffee was one of about a dozen business locations that were destroyed in a major fire at 312 and 314 Capitol Way North in downtown Olympia in December 2021. It has since relocated to 412 4th Ave E.
Michael Kershisnik, the project architect, said their proposal is mostly the interior of the building. They are not doing anything for the site yet. "It is staying as existing."
Kershisnik added that the site has an existing drive-thru for the dry cleaner that was previously operating there. “We are looking to keep that piece of the puzzle.”
Olympia Planner Casey Schaufler noted that the site is zoned as a downtown business, and it is in the design review district. “The proposed uses are a café, a service station, and possibly a motorcycle vehicle sale, all of which are permissible in the downtown district.”
According to Schaufler, the existing drive-in and drive-thru restaurants permitted before January 1994 are conforming uses, as provided in the code. “If you had a drive-thru for a restaurant before 1994, that would be an existing conforming use.”
After doing his research, Schauffler claimed the site is not permitted as a drive-thru restaurant.
“Based on the project narrative, you are adding a 155-square-foot floor area to the existing building, and it is creating a new drive-up window, which is currently prohibited in this district,” Schauffler said.
Schauffler said it would require a zoning code amendment to get a new drive-thru window.
"The other challenge that comes up immediately with the drive-thru - even if it was an existing conforming drive-thru and even if it were existing before 1994 - it would still have to meet one of our other drive-thru conditions, including that drive-up window that has to have a lane that allows for six vehicles before the menu board to stack," Schauffler added.
"I think you might have to tweak your site plan for that. I am not seeing how you can stack the six vehicles through the front of your building. I think there are some issues and concerns there," he said.
Olympia Senior Planner Nicole Floyd explained that the project would be exempt from going through a land use review if they do minor to almost nothing to the exterior of the building.
But if the developer, Floyd added, is doing the addition or changing the site plan significantly, it could trigger a land use review.
For the design review piece, Floyd said that if the project is making significant changes to the exterior building that would change the architectural character of the neighborhood or the building, then a review is applicable.
Olympia's Engineering Plans Examiner, Tiffani King, said the site has three access points. She recommended keeping the configuration with the driveways for safety purposes. "The entrance of Union [Avenue] creates the ability to turn left out of the loop, both left in and out."
If the developer opted for code amendment for the drive-thru window, King said the engineering design criteria specifically stated the prohibition of spillover vehicles into the adjacent right of way.
"Drive-thru windows and approaches to them must be located and designed to accommodate on-site the maximum expected vehicle queue, with no spillover, a vehicle queue onto adjacent streets, or adjacent sites with no interference with vehicles, pedestrians and bicycle as a point of access or egress," King read part of the engineering design criteria for the developer's reference.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here