After a 45-minute discussion, the Rogers City Council on May 28 approved multiple requests from NLD Rogers, LLC, including a preliminary plat, site plan, two variances, and a development agreement with the city.

NLD Rogers is proposing a redevelopment project involving the former Minnie’s Diner property at 13105 Main Street. That property and an adjacent gas station will be replatted as Bluewater Bay.

One 3,400-square-foot lot will be constructed with a drive-thru and an outdoor patio area. A second 5,170-square-foot lot will have a drive-thru for a coffee shop and retail space. The two drive-thru uses will house Freddy’s Custard and Steakburger, and Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin Donuts), according to a memo to the city Council from Jason Ziemer, Rogers City Planner and Community Development coordinator.

The proposal includes demolishing the existing restaurant, clearing the property, and constructing the two commercial buildings.

“A concern with the development is the existing driveway on Main Street – currently only a right-in right-out and the properties’ only legal access,” Ziemer’s memo said. “Both MnDOT and Hennepin County have commented on this access. According to MnDOT, ‘the access is not ideal but appears to be unavoidable due to lack of other viable access locations.’ Hennepin County, on the other hand, continues to express concern over this access point.”

“In an ideal world, the county would prefer closure of this access, requiring full ingress and egress of the site, and the adjacent gas station, from Industrial Boulevard,” Ziemer’s memo said. “However, the county understands the potential business impacts resulting from a full closure and had been open to ideas to retaining the access, but with restrictions.”

Karla Carlson, representing NLD Rogers, told the council that the two quick-service style restaurants will have two drive-thrus on the site. “There is not going to be another restaurant there,” Carlson said, adding that interest from potential tenants includes a regional medical use and an accounting firm, both of which anticipate low-impact traffic.

The Dunkin’ site is expected to generate the bulk of its traffic in the morning hours, while Freddy’s site is targeted toward lunch and dinner customers.

“Our goal is to make the area looks better and more presentable,” Mayor Rick Ihli said. “The parking isn’t ideal, but I don’t think the parking is a super-big issue. It’s a nice, clean project. It will clean up the area we’re concerned about not looking very attractive now. There’s quite a bit of excitement about it. I think it will take care of itself.”

Councilor Shannon Klick said, “There’s definitely going to be more traffic.”

Replied Ihli, “We’re always going to deal with traffic. That’s the nature of the beast these days.”

At an earlier meeting, the NLD Rogers project was approved as an exception to the development moratorium the city adopted in February.

The proposed development “clearly meets the intent of the Comprehensive Plan,” Ziemer said earlier.

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