KFC approved over neighbor concerns

By John McLoone

The Hastings City Council approved a resolution for the site plan of the proposed KFC restaurant at 1726 Vermillion St.

Neighbors of the proposed fastfood restaurant at the corner of 18th and Vermillion Streets are worried about increased traffic on 18th Street and an already busy intersection at Vermillion Street. The site formerly housed a gas station that has been razed. To its north is the new Hastings Dairy Store.

The KFC plan is for a driveway and egress onto 18th Street and another one on Vermillion that would allow for right turns into the parking lot and right turns out onto Vermillion. With the difficulty of turning onto Vermillion, residents fear traffic will be forced onto 18th Street.

“It’s a dangerous intersection at 18th there,” said Marci Jorgenson, an 18th Street resident.

“One thing I know is that change is inevitable. Hastings has to grow. I understand that. One big thing I have a problem with KFC is the traf-The

See KFC, Page 5 fic,” said Brandon Spillman, who lives on 18th Street. He urged the council to send the project back to planning so traffic isn’t diverted onto 18th.

“There’s no reason to put that much traffic on 18th. That’s a lot of traffic for a residential street,” he said.

City Director of Community Development John Hinzman said the hope is for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to put a stop light at 18th and Vermillion when the road is rebuilt in 2026.

KFC plans to build a 3,100squrefoot building on the .66acre site. The restaurant would have a drive thru. The matter was approved by the city planning commission on a 61 vote last Monday.

Hinzman noted that the parcel is zoned commercial and complies with all city requirements for development. KFC plans a buffer from the residential neighborhood with trees and a fence. The restaurant will seat 24 patrons.

Councilmember Lisa Leifeld asked Hinzman if there are complaints logged about traffic on 17th Street coming from Kwik Trip, as that was a concern from neighbors when that was built.

“I know that was a big concern,” she said. Hinzman said he doesn’t recall getting any complaints about that.

“I feel really sympathetic to what you’re saying,” Leifeld told the neighbors in attendance. “I am going to support this and not because I don’t love the community, because I do. But business brings business. Will I still get my chicken at M& H? Probably, but I am going to support this.”

“This property has been zoned. There’s not a whole lot we can say about it,” said councilmember Mark Vaughan, who stressed that pressure needs to be put on MnDOT for the traffic signals.

“It’s a dangerous place. It needs to be told to MnDOT that we need to have a stoplight at 19th,” he said.

Mayor Mary Fasbender told residents that she believes KFC will work to be a good neighbor.

“We do want to see Hastings develop. We do want to see growth,” she said. “When you’re on Hwy. 61, you’re going to see development, and in today’s world, it’s fast food. That’s what people want.”

The council vote for approval had two in opposition, Tina Folch and Trevor Lund.

June 22, 2022