Council OKs stop signs at Front, Hampshire to help lure national restaurant

Posted: Mar. 4, 2013 10:53 pm Updated: Mar. 18, 2013 11:15 pm

By DOUG WILSONHerald-Whig Senior Writer

Quincy aldermen approved a four-way stop at Front and Hampshire to improve safety near Johnny Bang Bang's, which is being acquired by a national restaurant franchise.

Alderman Jack Holtschlag, D-7, and seatmate Terri Heinecke, R-7, have been seeking the stop sign change for the past few weeks as both a safety and an economic development issue.

"When we've got somebody ready to put $300,000 into a business. I think we should work with them," Holtschlag said.

Duane Venvertloh, speaking on behalf of the owners of Johnny Bang Bang's, said a franchise business that wishes not to be identified at this time expects to have 500 to 600 patrons per day at the restaurant. The site would have 75 to 100 employees with 35 to 40 workers per shift.

The prospective buyer wants to improve safety at the intersection with the stop sign.

"We're looking at parking down there too," Holtschlag said.

Alderman Dave Bauer, D-2, voted against the stop sign. He does not like to see the city make changes before a business is in place and a need is demonstrated. City officials say they may put the stop signs in place 40 to 45 days before the restaurant would be ready to open.

Holtschlag said the recent rejection of a stop sign request at the intersection of 20th and Chestnut was far different from the approval at Front and Hampshire. The number of people crossing Chestnut is low, and students from Quincy University have been crossing at mid-block, rather than at an intersection.

Aldermen approved better lighting about 350 feet east of 18th and Chestnut as a safety measure, but they agreed with the Traffic Commission's opposition to a four-way stop sign.

In other action, the council:

º Granted a variation from zoning regulations at 644 Kentucky to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces for an 8-unit, multi-family residence from two spaces per living unit to one space per unit.

º Voted to concur with a plan by the Salvation Army to place portable "no parking" signs in three diagonal spaces on the Fifth Street side of the Ray and Joan Kroc Center on various dates.