The Monroe City Council approved a variance Tuesday that will allow for 26 parking spaces instead of the 18 spaces that would be permitted under the relevant zoning ordinance. The building to be constructed is for a Starbucks coffee shop at 730 E. Highway 138 – next to Chick-fil-A in Monroe. This approval enables plans to go ahead and begin construction. The building currently at that location has been vacant for some time. It was previously a pawn and gun shop and prior to that a restaurant.
According to the application, the proposed use of the property is for a Starbucks coffee shop – commercial restaurant with seating for 52 patrons and eight employees on the largest shift. There also will be a drive-thru lane as is customary for a Starbucks. The building will be 2,500 sq. ft., about half the size of the building currently standing vacant on the property. The property currently has significantly more parking spaces.
Councilwoman Lee Malcom expressed concern about the traffic at the entrance and exit to the proposed Starbucks restaurant onto Highway 138 along with patrons to Chick-fil-A and across from the Walmart. She initially asked if the issue could be tabled to allow for discussion with the Georgia Department of Transportation to see what could be done about that stretch of the highway.
After discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the variance to enable plans to proceed but agreed to get with Georgia DOT to see what could be done about the intersection that already backs up at the entrance and exit from Chick-fil-A.