Durand planners OK permits for Taco Bell

Durand Planning Commission members discuss the site plan and special land use permit for a proposed Taco Bell restaurant at 8831 E. Lansing Road.

DURAND — The city planning commission Tuesday approved permits that could allow a Taco Bell restaurant to build at a Lansing Road site.

The planning commission approved both the site plan and the special land use permit for the project. The proposed restaurant would be located at 8831 E. Lansing Road.

The only thing that stands between the project and the start of construction is the Durand City Council which must approve the special land use permit before the project can get underway. They will vote on the project Monday during their regularly scheduled meeting set for 7:30 p.m. at city hall.

The proposed Taco Bell would be approximately 2,500 square feet, featuring a drive-through and an outdoor patio, according to Bob Grabowski of Great Lakes Taco. The project represents a $2-million investment, he said — one he is looking forward to.

“We’re excited to come into town, especially for me, my son will probably work here,” Grabowski said.

“We think this is going to be a good site, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that ‘Project Tim’ will actually come out of the ground, which will help with not only the construction of the plant but the 800 or 900 employees it’s going to have,” he added. “They’re all going to want to eat somewhere. Hopefully they’ll be eating some tacos.”

Project Tim, which Grabowski referenced, is a proposed steel mill project that would be located east of Durand Road on the north side of Lansing Road. The developer has assembled property options, but has been working to obtain financing for the $5 billion project.

Grabowski currently owns and operates 24 Taco Bell restaurants under the banner of Great Lakes Taco. In addition to the proposed Durand location, Grabowski said he has a Taco Bell under development in Auburn Hills that is just weeks from construction.

The proposed construction timeline for the Durand Taco Bell would be 80 days, Grabowski said. If approved Monday, he would expect the restaurant to be up and running by September.

The restaurant would also increase the city’s tax base and create jobs.

“The good thing is we hire local people, typically, which will put probably 30 to 40 people to work, depending on what we end up deciding for hours,” Grabowski said.

Under the special land use permit, there are certain conditions Grabowksi and Great Lakes Taco have to meet. Negotiations at Tuesday’s meeting resulted in Grabowski agreeing to pay for an updated traffic study, to install lighting in front of the proposed restaurant that is consistent with lighting at other new properties in the city, to plant and maintain decorative vegetation, and to install a black chain-link fence behind the property.

The requirements stem primarily from city ordinances, planning commissioner Jeff Brands said.

“Everything was the way we like it to be,” Brands said. “There’s some things that are in our ordinance that they didn’t have on their plans, so we made that change. I think everybody is really excited about this. I think we’re always looking for something a little bit nicer, and I think with this project and the O’Reilly’s. These guys are going to set the example of what we like to see.”

If approved, the project would be the second new business to make its appearance on Lansing Road. An O’Reilly Auto Parts facility was announced for the corner of Lansing and Durand roads in 2017 and is currently under construction at the site of the former Crossroads Bar.

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