Scooter's Coffee business taking shape at longtime vacant lot in Shawnee

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
A crew gets ready to start the work day early Wednesday as construction continues for Scooter's Coffee, a business soon to operate on the northwest corner of Harrison and Independence, in Shawnee.

For decades, a lot on the northwest corner of Harrison and Independence has remained empty in Shawnee.

Though the existing site has been vacant for many years, it has been previously developed. It has two existing curb cuts, or driveways, on the east side of the site, on Harrison Street.

This week the vacant site is beginning to take shape as a crew continues work in the early stages of constructing Scooter's Coffee.

The project on the property has not come without its challenges. In order to get the plan moving, a variance had to gain approval from city leaders, since putting in a driveway so close to the intersection is against current regulations.

According to a Shawnee City Commission agenda in July, the applicant’s northern property line sits 137 feet from the intersection, but the minimum separation for a proposed driveway and the intersection is 150 feet.

On Harrison Street, the proposed plan removes the closest drive to the intersection and shifts the proposed drive as far away from the intersection as possible, given the property boundaries. It also, has a full access drive on Independence Street.

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The northwest corner of Harrison and Independence, in Shawnee.

Shawnee City Engineer Seth Barkhimer said the applicants have done absolutely everything they can do to compensate the regulations.

“Through coordination with staff and ODOT traffic engineers, the applicant proposes a right-in-right-out drive approximately 103 feet from the intersection,” the July 19 agenda reads.

The layout would allow ingress-egress on Harrison Street, but would prevent legal left turns across three lanes of traffic, the agenda reads.

“The right-in-right-out layout allows Scooter’s patrons to enter from southbound Harrison but restricts left turns to eliminate queuing and potential accidents,” Barkhimer's memo states.

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He said there will be signage added to remind northbound drivers on Harrison that left turns would not be allowed there.

Harrison Street is State Highway 18, so it requires an ODOT driveway permit.

“ODOT Division III has reviewed and tentatively approved the proposed right-in-right-out layout,” Barkhimer wrote in the agenda memo.

ODOT stated it would approve the driveway pending city approval, he said.

Shawnee City Commissioners did choose to unanimously approve the variance at their July 19 meeting.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.