Zoning approved for planned Jaggers restaurant

The closed Lincoln Square Restaurant in Columbus has received zoning approval for a new drive-through restaurant.

Mike Wolanin | The Republic

The Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals has approved zoning variances for a franchise operator that is seeking to demolish the former Lincoln Square Restaurant on the city’s west side and replace it with a fast casual restaurant with a drive thru.

On Tuesday, the board voted 3-0 to allow exceptions to the city’s zoning ordinance related to plans to build a Jaggers restuarant at 2315 Jonathan Moore Pike.

The Jaggers franchise is owned by Texas Roadhouse LLC and offers burgers, chicken tenders and sandwiches, among other things, according to the restaurant’s website. The restaurant would be the latest addition to the area, after Dunkin’ Donuts and Wingstop recently opened nearby.

The variances approved by the board Tuesday include allowing vehicle access to the site from Jonathan Moore Pike via a drive that is less than 400 feet from neighboring drives and allowing parking spaces that are not set back at least five feet from the edge of the property.

However, the restaurant will be required to have wheel stops — narrow rectangular slabs of concrete — at the end of its parking spots to make sure vehicles don’t encroach on neighboring properties when parking.

“The only thing we said is they need to have wheel stops on that south parking lot … so people don’t run into the neighboring businesses’ property,” said Board of Zoning Appeals member Zack Ellison.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, the City of Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department issued a report with a preliminary staff recommendation that the board deny both variance requests, stating, among other things, that strictly enforcing the zoning ordinance would not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property and that direct access to State Road 46 “is not necessary for a business.”

The restaurant property has another entrance to the south between Starbucks and Dirtbuster Car Wash near the Sleep Inn & Suites.

But if a variance for the driveway were to be approved, the planning department report said wheel stops shall be provided for all parking spaces of the southern parking lot retained from the previous development.

A city ordinance states that the distance between driveways on major roads like Jonathan Moore Pike must be 400 feet.

“Well, that’s pretty tough to do when they have businesses on Jonathan Moore (Pike),” Ellison said. “You have the one exit there at Starbucks and then you have the one right there at the old Lincoln Square, and they’re only about 70 feet apart. And then you got where Daily’s Market used to be, which is now Dunkin Donuts, which was 300 feet. So, you know, what we we agreed to was that it was okay. We gave them a variance for that separation so that the drive could essentially stay in exactly the same position.”

Ellison said he was under the impression that Jaggers intends to start building as early as this spring.

A spokesperson for Texas Roadhouse LLC did not respond to a request for comment.

The property is currently owned by Katris Columbus LLC, which purchased the lot for $700,000 in 2015, according to county records.

As of September, there were four Jaggers locations nationwide — in Louisville, Indianapolis, Greenwood and Noblesville — according to the restuarant’s website.