Despite being at legal crossroads, work on BWW2 may begin soon
A disputed project to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester is at a legal crossroads, though developers may move ahead construction anyway.
The owners of the Crossroads Shopping Center plan to appeal a recent Olmsted County court decision to dismiss their complaints opposing the planned construction of a 7,000-square-foot BWW in front of the shopping center.
Describing the summary judgment by Olmsted County Judge Nancy Buytendorp as "incomprehensible," Crossroads attorney Ken Moen says he believes his clients have a good chance to have the ruling overturned by the state appeals court.
"I believe she applied the wrong standard of judgment to the case," he says.
This is the third time that the complaints about the Buffalo Wild Wings project and its parking plan have been dismissed.
Tom Graf, the owner of Graf Enterprises and the successful Buffalo Wild Wings in north Rochester, says his long-delayed project has the necessary permits to begin construction, despite the possibility of appeal.
"We will probably move forward with the project," he says. "And we will continue to defend our position."
His plan to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings has been delayed by months by the dispute with Crossroads owners Bob Meek and Vic Scott. The City of Rochester approved the development plan last year and he had hoped to open the new location possibly as early as March of this year.
However, the square of dirt slated as the construction site has not been touched, since the Pannekoeken Huis restaurant was demolished in September 2011 to clear the way for the BWW.
Moen says "the heart of the dispute" is about parking. The city approved a plan that calls for 55 spaces — 35 on Graf's plot of land and 20 spaces in the nearby Crossroads parking lot.
Meek and Scott claim that the city did not follow its own rules when it approved Graf's development plan in December. They contend that that the 20 parking spaces on their property could limit future expansion plans.
"If all of the required parking spaces were on the Buffalo Wild Wings property, we would welcome the project," says Moen.
They first took their concerns about parking for the proposed Buffalo Wild Wings and how it could limit any future expansion of the center to the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeal. When the board ruled in favor of the Graf project, Crossroads appealed to the Rochester City Council. The council supported the zoning board's decision.
Still unhappy with the situation, Meek and Scott filed the lawsuit against Graf and the city of Rochester to appeal the council's ruling.
Last week the court ruled that the city "acted reasonably" when it approved the Buffalo Wild Wings plan. That decision is what Moen says his clients intend to appeal.