ST. JOSEPH -- A pair of developers hoping to open a Caribou Coffee in St. Joseph are back to the drawing board.

At their Monday night meeting, the St. Joseph City Council voted to deny both a variance request and a conditional use permit for a drive-thru Caribou Coffee at the corner of 12th Ave. SE and County Rd. 75.

Interim City Administrator Therese Haffner says the development would have required a 9 ft. variance, placing it 6 ft. from residential property — a detail which drew privacy concerns from community members. Additionally, the business was proposed at what Haffner calls a "very busy" intersection and ultimately there were too many safety concerns related to traffic.

This really had to do with turning movements and proximity to the intersection with regard to getting in and getting out safely.

Haffner says the applicants, John Fahning and Tom Opatz LLC., were poised to buy the property from the city of St. Joseph, but now, it remains to be seen if that will happen.

It could remain city property, although the city did complete a purchase agreement with the applicant. So, if they choose to, they can execute that purchase agreement and become the owner of that property. So, we'll see.

The city council's dual denial comes on the heels of mixed recommendations from the St. Joseph Planning Commission, who recently voted to approve the variance request but deny the conditional use permit.

The shop would have been the second Caribou Coffee shop in St. Joseph. Coborn's - St. Joseph already includes the franchise, open seven days a week.

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