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McDonald’s owner seeks relief from City Council
Delineators stopping left turns hurting his business
mcdonald's owner at city council
Great Bend McDonalds owner Robert Lane addresses the Great Bend City Council Monday night about problems he has with the delineators used to keep westbound 10th Street traffice from turning into the restaurant’s parking lot.

Great Bend McDonald’s owner Robert Lane told the City Council Monday night that the delineators the city installed on 10th Street are hurting his business. The orange markers were placed just over a month ago to prevent westbound 10th Street traffic from turning left into the restaurant’s parking lot.

“Right now, the delineators, since they went in, are affecting me 15% of sales compared to last year,” he said. He bought the store three years ago and pays based on the sales it generates.

“Now, we’re underwater, so to speak,” he said. “I’m looking for some kind of relief.”

At issue is westbound traffic wanting to enter the business’ 10th Street driveway. The diagonal railroad crossing complicates matters even more.;

The eastbound traffic is essentially three lanes. That includes the inside and outside lanes, and the center turning lane designed to turn north onto Harrison.

However, crossing over a double yellow line to turn left off of 10th into McDonald’s is illegal.

Problems arise when westbound drivers headed for the restaurant pull into the eastbound turning lane and load it up against eastbound drivers who want to turn north on Harrison, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Although against state traffic laws, this has been a problem for a long time.

This means that westbound motorists wishing to enter McDonald’s have to turn left and use the Harrison Street entrance.

Lane said the orange markers are a problem for him. But he knows this has been an issue for the city as well.

“COVID is bad enough,” Lane said, noting he had just remodeled his lobby and hasn’t been able to use it yet. But, even with the pandemic, “prior to the delineators, drive-in sales good. They are suffering today. It makes it harder and harder for me to employ people.”  

“We tried education,” Francis said. “It just wasn’t effective.”

They consulted with  Kansas Department of Transportation on possible solutions. The first suggestion was a concrete island, but that was cost prohibitive for the city, which led engineers to recommend the delineators.

Technically, 10th Street is considered part of U.S. 56 and K-156 highways, and improvements require the blessing of KDOT. The agency OKed the proposal.

Lane suggested removing some of the orange posts, allowing westbound drivers to turn left. But that would still interfere with the eastbound turning lane, as well as create other traffic-snarling and traffic law issues, Francis said.

“I’m hesitant to recommend removing the delineators,” Francis said. Signs went up earlier, advising drivers headed west about the change, and new, larger signs went up Monday.

Still, “my concern is that a sign isn’t going to be enough,” Francis said. 

“We want to limit the impact on McDonald’s,” Francis said. “Give the signs a bit more time to work.”

Mayor Cody Schmidt, noting the initial signage was perhaps inadequate, agreed. “Let us work with the signs. Give us three or four months.”

Kansas Department of Transportation traffic counts indicate that 12,800 cars and 1,500 trucks pass through the area daily. Factoring in the diagonal railroad crossing, it becomes a very challenging intersection.

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Heard from Robert Lane with McDonalds who addressed the council on the delineators the city installed on 10th Street.

• Approved changing the required amount to obtain a performance bond for contracts exceeding $100,000 in the procurement policy.

Currently, the city’s procurement policy requires contractors to obtain a performance bond for 100% of the contract price for amounts exceeding $25,000. Per state statutes, contractors are only required to obtain a performance bond for contract amounts exceeding $100,000, said Clerk/Finance Director Shawna Schafer. 

So, staff recommended changing the policy to align with the state statute.

• Approved a rezoning request for Ellinwood Land and Cattle Inc.

Ellinwood Land and Cattle Inc. has applied to have 40 acres of real estate located in the three-mile limit of Great Bend rezoned from A (agriculture) to LMSC (light manufacturing/service commercial). This will allow the land to be sold to Bucklin Tractor Implement Inc. which plans to construct a new, 35,000-square-feet building to house a sales and parts, and be used as repair facility for its line of agricultural machinery, said City Attorney Bob Suelter. 

BTI currently have 35 employees at its current location and will add an additional 10 employees to this location.

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on this matter in August and there was no opposition.

Construction should begin in November and be done by December. BTI owns six John Deere dealerships across the state.

Notice was mailed to landowners within 1,000 feet of the real. Additionally, notice of the public hearing was published in the Great Bend Tribune.

• Approved a bid from Venture Corporation for $569,010 for the resurfacing of a large section of Washington Street, Morton Street, and two blocks of Stone Street. Venture Corporation was the only bidder, Assistant Public Director Jason Cauley said.

Funds will come from the quarter-cent city sales tax dedicated to street maintenance. There is $700,000 left in the fund.

Work will begin on or before Oct. 12 and will be done within 60 working days. It is a combination of resurfacing and reconstruction work.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on the pending retirement of Police Chief David Bailey and the ongoing project to replace the police station.

• Heard a report from Christina Hayes, community coordinator and Convention and Visitors Bureau. She focused on recent events, transient guest tax collections and a successful hunting season at Cheyenne Bottoms.

• Approved the 2021 Blue Cross/Blue Shield rates. There is no increase for 2021 Blue rates, said Human Resource Director Randy Keasling. This means  the city can keep employee/city rates at the same level as 2020. 

• Approved a two-day cereal malt beverage license for Chad Ehrlic for the Car Auction Oct. 2 and 3 at the Expo Grounds.

• Approved the 2020 Uniform Public Offense Code Ordinance. The Kansas League of Municipalities prepares yearly a Uniform Public Offense Code. This is the majority of the City’s criminal code. It complies with the State of Kansas changes to its criminal code and reflects changes made by the Kansas Legislature during its most recent session. 

The ordinance excludes certain sections of the code which historically been prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office. 

This is an annual action by the Governing Body to keep the city’s code updated.

• Approved abatements at: 2102 30th Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Anthony and Florence Malsom Trust; 2119 31st, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Charles and Linsey McHenry; 412 Locust, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Jesus Carrasco; 316 Plum, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Jaciel Rodriguez; 309 Maple, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Gladys Chism; 2536 8th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Mark Schaffer; 2107 30th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Stacey Farris; 1202 Adams, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Moses Properties LLC; and 1916 Hubbard, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, Mario Espino-Cruz.