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July 04, 2012

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.

Bbw2The 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.


The real problem here is that this is delaying my ability to put wings in my belly!

Really? 20 spaces is what is holding this plan up.? Sounds like an argument 2 toddlers would have. No wonder new business stays away from this town.

Why not give up on Crossroads? Sell the property to the owners of Crossroads and find a new place. There's the Old Navy building standing empty.Plenty big and lots of parking. The bigger BWW's up near the Cities are bigger than the NW Rochester one and a lot quieter but still have the atmosphere of a BWW. Lot more high stool tables too.

20 spaces??!!! I could understand if crossroads was a hopping mall, but it's not. The only time of the year the parking lot is full is when the fair comes to town. I would think that the additional business traffic from another business coming to the mall would be welcomed but maybe the other businesses don't like money.

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