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Minooka residents voice concerns over proposed pizza place

Minooka residents voice concerns over proposed Dominos

This vacant space at the north end of the Brannick Court business plaza in Minooka is the proposed site of a new Dominos Pizza. Neighbors directly behind the site have concerns about a proposed drive thru lane.
This vacant space at the north end of the Brannick Court business plaza in Minooka is the proposed site of a new Dominos Pizza. Neighbors directly behind the site have concerns about a proposed drive thru lane.

Some residents of Minooka are questioning the proposed location for a popular pizza place.

Last week, several neighbors from the Indian Ridge subdivision approached the Minooka Village Board with concerns over a proposed Domino's Pizza. The restaurant chain is looking to build a new site in the Brannick Court Business Plaza.

Before the board on June 25 were a conditional use permit for Domino's and a final plat for approval. But nearby homeowners said that building — which includes a drive thru window slated to stay open until 2 a.m. — is too close for comfort.

"Pretty much my backyard, how it opens up is, it opens up to that area. I bought knowing that there is commercial property there, understanding all the obstacles that could happen with that. But, I did not know that we were going to put a drive thru so close to our residential area," said Nick Krol, whose home backs up directly to the currently vacant site.

Krol said a drive thru against his fence, and the possibility of drivers pulling through it well after midnight, is cause for worry.

"We don't, in Minooka, have something open until 2 a.m. in general on a Saturday," he said. "They say [they will install] buffers and shades and stuff like that, but 2 in the morning next to a residential area is a huge concern of mine. I've got kids, 2 in the morning, I don't want to cause problems with Minooka but people being loud. At 2 in the morning the only thing you've got is drunks in the drive thru."

Domino's franchisee Mark Ratterman, who was also present at the meeting, said he is committed to working with neighbors to make sure the experience works well in everyone's favor.

"We're really looking forward to being part of Minooka," Ratterman said, adding that the drive thru lanes at Domino's have been successful because they help families pick up their pizzas without having to take their kids out of their cars.

"It's really been popular with customers, because it's kind of a safety issue with customers. They can order their pizzas online and they just pull up to the window, take the pizza, and leave."

Ratterman owns more than 60 of the pizza chain restaurants in the Springfield and St. Louis areas. He said the bulk of Domino's business comes through delivery, and estimated about 25 percent of the carry out customers utilize the drive thru. He said it's unusual to have more than two cars at a time waiting for pickup.

Ratterman also said his businesses utilize security cameras on site, and employees are vetted and drug screened.

"We like this location because it's real central to the customers," he said, adding that the pickup window will face the strip mall. "We think we'd be a real positive for this. I'm going to be buying the property, I'm going to hold it long term. This is not a short term deal for me. I'm concerned about being good neighbors, because these would be my potential customers."

Ratterman also said it's corporate policy to keep restaurants open until 2 a.m., however, he can appeal to corporate if the business simply isn't there.

"It's just bad business to have people mad at you. We want them to be glad that we're in town," Ratterman said.

Board members said they wanted to see some of the concerns addressed more specifically before voting on the approvals for the restaurant. Board members said that despite the fact that the issue had already gone before the zoning board, they were not aware that the restaurant would be open until 2 a.m.

"We're going to look into this further," said Village President Patrick Brennan. "We weren't aware of all of this that was going on. So, they'll be back in July."

The board will discuss the issue during a July 17 Committee of the Whole meeting.

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