JANESVILLE

Plans for a new downtown mixed-use building that could one day house a coffee or sandwich shop cleared the plan commission and will be considered by the city council.

The commission Monday night unanimously approved a favorable recommendation to the council to approve rezoning of the property at 301 W. Wall St. from B5 central business district to B6 central service district.

The commission also recommends the city give abutting city-owned property at 22 N. High St. to developers for the project. That property includes an underused seven-stall public parking lot, according to a city memo.

Rezoning is necessary to allow for a drive-thru window that developer Paul Murphy said could accommodate a sandwich or coffee shop.

The plan commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for a drive-thru window on the property contingent on whether the council approves the rezoning.

Developers plan to build a 3,192-square-foot building subdivided into four units, with three units intended for office space or service businesses, said Brian Schweigl, senior planner.

The drive-thru lane will allow space for six cars to wait in line, one more than the city’s required five cars, according to city memo.

Data analyzed by the developers suggest they could expect on average eight to 10 cars in the drive-thru line per hour, Murphy said.

Plan commission members discussed building materials and how the building might fit into the downtown environment.

Murphy and his partners plan to use materials that will resemble those of nearby historic buildings and colors similar to surrounding red and yellow exteriors, he said.

Commission member Carl Weber questioned whether design plans match other downtown businesses that have large storefront windows along sidewalks.

Plans now show smaller windows along the building’s front façade.

Weber’s question sparked lengthy discussion about windows. Murphy said he would be open to tweaking the window designs, though it is not required that downtown businesses have such windows.

Murphy listed the Cobblestone Hotel as an example of a downtown building without storefront windows.

Commission member Barry Badertscher said the project’s intended use as office space would call for a design like Murphy’s that has smaller windows along the front.

Commission member Steve Knox, who made a motion to approve the conditional-use permit, said he trusted Murphy would act in good faith, with assistance from city staff, to ensure the building would blend well with the downtown aesthetic.

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