A plan to put a Starbucks on U.S. Hwy 51 needs more information about traffic flow and an easement agreement before advancing, City of Stoughton Plan Commission members told the developer on Monday, Feb. 8.

Kirk Biodrowski is hoping to convert the former Old National Bank building at 1720 Hwy. 51 into a Starbucks and plans to lease the lot. Commissioners postponed a vote and instead requested clearer guidance for drivers.

Some commissioners said they were concerned about an increase in traffic and how the drivers would navigate through the Pick ‘N Save lot.

A proposed easement agreement would allow drivers to access the lot, which is shared between two stores, a gas station and coffee cart; and commissioners asked for information on that agreement, as well.

Commissioners are expected to discuss the permit at the March meeting but agreed they would be willing to hold a special session before then if needed. The Common Council will make the final decision on the permit.

Mayor Tim Swadley said the city received 125 emails regarding the proposed Starbucks, the majority of which voiced concern over a national chain competing with locally owned coffee shops in the city. The commission, however, cannot recommend or deny the permit based on such personal preferences, commissioners and city attorney Matt Dregne noted. Their evaluation of the conditional use permit must be based on whether the function of the building meets the zoning code.

Rise and Grind Coffee cart operates out of the same Pick ‘N Save parking lot, and owner Phil Harrison was present at the meeting.

“Rise and Grind is not opposed to a Starbucks – we are not personally fans of Starbucks, but that doesn’t have an impact on if they should be able to operate,” Harrison said.

The proposed hours of operation for the Starbucks would be 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week; with peak hours between 8 a.m. and noon, according to the application.

The coffee shop expects to employ 15 full-time employees, the application states.

Contact Mackenzie Krumme at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.