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Waffle House seeks OK from city

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Building blocks: City officials asked Waffle House to use brick on a proposed new building in Greenfield.  (Illustration provided)
Building blocks: City officials asked Waffle House to use brick on a proposed new building in Greenfield. (Illustration provided)

GREENFIELD — Waffle House Inc. may finally have a place to call home in Greenfield – again – depending on whether the Greenfield City Council says yes during its next meeting on Jan. 23.

First, the company’s plan to locate on the lot just south of Big O Tires on North State Street must gain final approval from the Greenfield Planning Commission on Monday night.

According to city zoning administrator Joanie Fitzwater, the company has complied with all city requests in order to locate on the site, and the plan commission should OK it on Monday.

The company once had a restaurant here on North State Street near McClarnon Drive.

Five years ago, the company attempted to re-enter the market. It gained plan commission and zoning board approval to locate a new restaurant at the Interstate 70 interchange, but the city council vetoed it, saying the location was inappropriate.

Butch Bauer, Waffle House Inc. vice president and real estate representative, spent the latter part of 2012 seeking approval from Greenfield’s planning and zoning officials to locate on the property in the 1700 block of North State Street.

In essence, Waffle House will locate on what is now the grassy area just south of Big O Tires. On Monday, the plan commission must approve both the plat request and changes the company has made to the building and site plans to conform to the city’s corridor overlay plan for Ind. 9.

Regarding the latter, Fitzwater said Waffle House was asked to “fancy up” the outside of the building by using brick and adding other small architectural touches. There will be a bike rack and bench outside.

Also, Waffle House has promised to plant a substantial 20-foot green barrier between its parking area and that of Big O.

The plan adheres to zoning for the area, which is Planned Business.

Five years ago, the BZA had permitted a change in zoning for the Waffle House plat at the interstate from Industrial 1 to Planned Business. That was what the city council objected to then, Fitzwater said.

Since then, Bauer said the company has focused on building new restaurants in other areas. Waffle House prefers to build at interstate exits both to cater to interstate traffic and to catch breakfast business from local commuter traffic.

Bauer said the company was approached about locating at 1776 N. State St., but would not say by whom.

“It seems to be a good fit for us,” said Bauer. “When you get in a situation where you want to be in a community, you eventually find something that works for you.”

Currently, the closest Waffle House restaurants to Greenfield are at I-70 and Post Road and at the Lapel-Pendleton exit at I-69, he said.

The company has about 1,600 restaurants nationwide.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the plan commission will consider a change to the temporary sign portion of the city’s revamped sign ordinance, Fitzwater said.

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