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Posted on Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

McDonald's resubmits site plan to reconfigure restaurant on Carpenter Road

By Lizzy Alfs


The entrance of McDonald's on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township.

Courtney Sacco |

Pittsfield Township Planning Commission will consider a proposal Thursday night that would allow a McDonald’s restaurant on Carpenter Road to reconfigure its drive-thru and make other site improvements.

McDonald’s, at 3811 Carpenter Road just north of Ellsworth, is requesting a conditional use permit and site plan approval to reconfigure its drive-thru from a one-menu board to a two-menu board. Modifications to a drive-thru require a conditional use permit.

Plans also call to reduce the overall on-site parking spaces from 39 to 36, increase landscaping and make facade improvements to the building.

“McDonald’s indicates two drive-thru ordering boards is fast, thus allowing them to expedite the ordering and food delivery process,” a Pittsfield Township planning report says.

A second ordering board also is in the works for the McDonald's at 16 Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti.

The restaurant submitted an original site plan in August 2012, but plans were modified at the request of Pittsfield Township officials. Officials suggested the restaurant consider removing its main Carpenter Road entrance due to safety concerns. (Read more)

Issues cited by the township included: cars turning left into the site from Carpenter Road, cars turning left out of the site to Carpenter Road, cars driving over the curb to exit and enter the adjacent Red Robin site, cars going against the one way drive-aisle adjacent to the drive-thru.


The red arrows indicate access points and the yellow arrows indicate access issues such as cars turning left into the McDonald's off of Carpenter Road and cars driving over the curb to exit and enter Red Robin.

Courtesy of Pittsfield Township

The restaurant’s new site plan does not call to remove the main entrance from Carpenter Road. Instead, the applicant had a traffic analysis prepared and resubmitted the plan with all access points remaining. The proposal calls to extend the Carpenter Road curb cut traffic island and add landscaping and boulders between the Red Robin site to prevent cars from driving over the curb.


The new site plan for the McDonald's on Carpenter Road calls to extend the traffic island curb cut and add landscaping to prevent cars from driving over the curb to enter the Red Robin site.

Courtesy of Pittsfield Township

The township’s planning report says the modifications are only a “partial solution.” It says the applicant should eliminate the Carpenter Road curb cut or provide an alternative solution.

“We believe that the increased activity of the dual drive-thru without further addressing the Carpenter Road access will increase on-site traffic issue,” the report says.

The township report is recommending approval of the conditional land use permit contingent on changes to the site plan.

Also on the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission agenda:

  • A conditional use permit submitted by the Meijer store on Carpenter Road that would allow temporary outdoor plant sales

  • An amendment to the State Street Business Park PUD that would allow the construction of an indoor recreation facility on the northern portion of the site

Pittsfield Township Planning Commission will consider these requests at its 6:30 p.m. meeting on Thursday, May 16.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, May 15, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

It would be stupid for McDonald's to give up a prized entrance directly off of Carpenter Road, who is the Township kidding ? McD will probably proceed with the things they don't need the approval on and leave it at that, and leave yet another business unhappy with Township.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

I hate those 2 lane drive-thru's. I sure don't feel like it saves me any time. What they need to do at that location is to make sure that trash cans that are there for drive up customer, are so that they're on the side the driver is on. As you go in to go to the drive-thru, there's one off to the right as I recall....and once you get your food and are leaving out the one way, again the drive up trash is on the passenger side -- not good if you're by yourself.


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 2:27 a.m.

You're not supposed to EAT the food in the drive thru.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Why would you have garbage after just picking up your food ??? You wouldn't have eaten it yet!


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

Actually, a two lane drive through for a McDonalds that is run very well (which are hard to find) is great. The one I most frequent, when I go to McDonalds, nearly every time I can drive up, order, pay and have my food with barely stopping. Even when they're busy.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

That is by design. Those trash cans cost them money to empty and dispose of. They are put out of easy reach because they don't really want you to use them. You make an excellent point - the township should require more trash cans on site to better control the litter that comes from the business.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

It is a dangerous situation that should be eliminated. It is just too busy there. I see the same thing that Paula mentions, with cars stopping and then driving in the left turn lane once they realize they probably can't turn. I say probably only because there are those who force it. I'm sure McDonalds makes a lot of money from the curb cut, despite the potential for accidents and loss of life.

Lake Trout

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I agree with other posters, the Carpenter Road curb cut is completely unnecessary and should be eliminated. Way to many people who think they can go wherever they want with complete disregard for other vehicles using driveways and turn lanes properly. There are two well marked, and easily accessed routes into the whole complex.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

I spend way too much time at Meijer - and constantly witness vehicles turning here when it's obvious they're not heading to McDonald's. Some of the drivers realize it as they're in the left turn lane, then start to creep up toward the other entrance, which is not a good situation for drivers who are already aiming to get into the turn lane for that driveway.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

If only they would invent aomething that could have the words NO LEFT TURN on it. When a driver sees that, they would be banned from making a left turn there. WHy is it McDonalds responsibility to fix a stupidity issue of driving over curbs to get to Red Robin or making left hand turns when the township does not want them there.?


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

That entrance/exit on Carpenter is not needed. I hope they shut it down. There is a main road leading to Meijer that should suffice. Carpenter will become like Washtenaw with too many entrances.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

If I were McDonald's I'd skip the items needing the Township's approval, do the rest, and move forward. It would be foolish to give up their Carpenter Road access that they had approved when they built the restaurant !


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

I agree. McDonald's thinks they are a sacred cow.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

I wonder how planning commission will react since McDonald's did not remove the entrance the second time around. If the plan is denied, looks like they will have to or won't be able to move forward.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

who cuts thru like that to RR? who is in that big a hurry to get an overpriced burger (sorry, gourmet) burger with endless frie$? that exit to carpenter rd has ALWAYS been goofy. well before the latest reconfigure.


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

Red Robin = McDonald's on a plate.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

I would rather buy that overpriced burger than an overrated, cheap poorly processed and totally unhealthy Big Mac.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

I hear it gets better, Craig. Wait til 8 pm. Appetizers are half price during happy hour.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

endless fries? what time do they open?