Plans for Portillo’s at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove Receives City Council Approval
May 03, 2017 05:05AM
By Wendy Erlien
Portillo's concept drawing for proposed Maple Grove location. (graphic provided by city of Maple Grove)
After weeks of discussion, a potential denial – later turning into a reversal, the Maple Grove City Council approved a resolution which brings Portillo’s restaurant another step closer to opening a new location at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.
At the May 1 meeting, the council approved, in a 4-1 vote, an amendment to the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes PUD Concept Stage Plan and PUD Development Stage Plan aimed at constructing a 9,049 square foot Portillo’s restaurant. Councilmember Kristy Barnett voted against the plan citing concerns about traffic impact, pedestrian safety, and emergency vehicle access.
“I believe we’re elected to this council to be good stewards of the city and tonight I believe the council is not exercising good stewardship. I’m in favor of economic growth and I’m in favor of Portillo’s coming to Maple Grove. What I’m opposed to is the location of this building and its logistical design. My concerns reside with traffic impact, pedestrian safety and emergency vehicle access within the mall parking lot,” Barnett said. “I’ve heard nothing in the last two weeks which addresses these issues and I see no reason why my fellow council members are unwilling to take the time to do so. Therefore, while I hold no animus toward Portillo’s and this project, I must reluctantly vote no.”
Longtime Councilmember Karen Jaeger responded stating she’s never heard a council member say anything about the way she voted before. “The reason we have five people on the council is for each one of us to vote our own way – and to criticize how we are voting is not very good for you or for anyone else. I think you should apologize.”
Barnett responded that her statement was so those that voted for her could understand why she voted the way she did. “In my four months on council, there have been other people on this council that have spoken their feelings about ways we choose to vote. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different,” she said.
Councilmember Phil Leith talked about the results of the traffic study and numbers. “As far as safety goes, they’ve added some extra cross walks. I don’t see the safety impact here as far as comparing it to a normal shopping mall anywhere else,” he said.
Both Councilmember Leith and Mayor Mark Steffenson shared stories of visiting Portillo’s locations outside of the Twin Cities recently, noting the traffic flow and safety precautions they witnessed.
Before reaching the May 1 meeting, the plan presented to the council by The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes and Portillo’s faced some initial opposition by several council members at the April 3 meeting when they expressed concerns primarily relating to parking and traffic. Councilmembers Karen Jaeger and Judy Hanson later reversed their decision at the April 17 meeting – leading to the May 1 for approval of the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes PUD Concept Stage Plan and PUD Development Stage Plan.
Portillo’s was founded in 1963 and includes menu items such as hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, salads, ribs, and dessert in addition to catering. As of the beginning of 2017, 46 Portillo’s restaurants were operating in California, Indiana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin. At the May 1 meeting, a Portillo’s representative stated they were projecting opening the first Minnesota location in Woodbury July 18.
(Editor's note) You might also be interested in reading:
Following a lengthy discussion and receiving community input at the April 17 meeting, the Maple Grove City Council reversed its decision from April 3. Read More »
The resolution to deny the PUD Concept Stage Plan Amendment and the Development Stage Plan is anticipated to be voted on by the Maple Grove City Council at the April 17 meeting. Read More »