Branns new restaurant approved

January 17, 2012
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Developers have new options available when they want to build near a wetland in the Knapp’s Corner district and a noted local business family can build their new restaurant on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, as city commissioners approved both items last week.

The Brann family, led by Johnny Brann Jr., can go ahead and put up a one-story, 7,900-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Knapp Street and the East Beltline for a new restaurant concept they call Kitchen 67. Although the project was never fully in doubt, one concern of the development was portions of the building and the parking lot were within 75 feet of a wetland, which was the distance mandated in the city’s ordinance.

But commissioners amended the district’s zoning ordinance to allow for the project. A city stormwater engineer described the Brann project as being designed to lessen any negative effects to the wetland as much as could possibly be done.

The Brann’s site is next to a parcel where the Fahlen family plans to build a new Arnie’s Restaurant & Bakery. A portion of the Arnie’s project was also within 75 feet of the same wetland and commissioners approved it last February.

Kitchen 67 hopes to become the city’s first fast-casual restaurant that will feature some national brands, have a drive-up window for quick-serve items, and offer an outdoor patio in the warm months. The new restaurant will occupy about 4,400 square feet of the building. The Brann family plans to lease the remaining square footage to a retail business. The family is well known for its Brann’s Sizzling Steaks & Sports Grilles.

The Knapp’s Corner zoning ordinance called for buildings in the district to be set back more than 75 feet from a wetland. But commissioners amended the ordinance to allow a structure to be 50 feet from a wetland if the city’s Planning and Environmental Services departments gave their approvals to a project. A setback can also be reduced to 25 feet if the city’s Planning Commission approves a project as a Special Land Use development.

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