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Pizza Ranch on the ropes in West Bend

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The development of a Pizza Ranch restaurant on W. Washington Street in West Bend failed to come to a vote Tuesday as members of the Plan Commission got hung up on safety issues.

“I don’t see this as a good idea to exit right… what happens if they want to go west,” asked commission member Jed Dolnick.

The new property for a proposed Pizza Ranch is on W. Washington Street, just west of First Bank Financial Centre and just east of Hankerson’s Country Oven Bakery. According to current plans there would be one entrance and exit to the restaurant off W. Washington Street.

After Dolnick expressed his reservations the rest of the Plan Commission slowly chimed in.

“I share Jed’s concerns about traffic congestion and safety,” said commission member Jim White.  “There could be a lot of accidents and those headed west would have to go to Hankersons entrance (to turn) and there’s so much congestion there already with McDonald’s and Burger King and the car wash.”

Plan Commission member Ryan Peterson said, “This is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Bjorn Kaashagen is the developer for the Pizza Ranch. He said he was disappointed with the Plan Commission’s actions. “It’s pretty unusual to see this happen,” he said. “We’ll have to look at other options. We’re not sure where we’re going at this point.” 

Matt Gehring, who is developing the Pizza Ranch with his wife Stacy, said, “The community is just going to have to wait a little bit longer and we’ll have to get some cooperation from Sendik’s if we hope to move forward.”

The Pizza Ranch folks have reached out to the owners of Sendik’s in hopes of gaining an access point out the back of their lot. “They haven’t said no but they haven’t given us any terms on if they’re willing to do it, “said Kaashagen. “So far it seems it hasn’t been a high priority for them.”

White suggested a traffic impact study to give the Plan Commission a better idea and commission member Chris Schmidt talked about a separate entrance. 

Commission member Steve Hutchins called to approve the proposal but the motion failed after no one seconded the motion.

There was a lot of support for the project but the commission said it couldn’t approve it until the traffic issue was resolved.

The main point of contention is the right in and right out entrance and exit and parking. Safety was the main issue cited by the Plan Commission.


Matt Gehring said they’ll try to strike up a conversation again with Sendik’s 

The Gehrings have an accepted offer on the property however they have not closed on the purchase. 

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