Should Minden McDonald’s get a ‘playplace’? |

Should Minden McDonald’s get a ‘playplace’?

Sheila Gardner

Plans to build a two-story “Playplace” at the Minden McDonald’s raised questions from town board members last week concerned about parking and aesthetics.

The owners are proposing to place a 1,125-square-foot, glass-enclosed play area on the front of the McDonald’s. Applicants addressed the Minden Town Board on Wednesday and plan to bring final proposal for design review to the November meeting.

Board member Robert Hadfield said he was concerned that the proposed addition would add seating and eliminate parking.

Owner Greg Myers said 60 percent of the McDonald’s business uses the drive-through and doesn’t require parking.

“I don’t want adjoining owners complaining to us that their businesses are hurt, knowing we allowed you to increase seating with no additional parking,” Hadfield said.

Town board member Ross Chichester said he thought the plan would be more appropriate in a large shopping center like the McDonald’s play area in the K-Mart shopping center in Carson City.

“I think McDonald’s is a great restaurant,” Chichester said. “But I get concerned adding more to places with inadequate parking.”

Myers said the play area was a response to increased competition in the fast food business.

“Everytime a competitor goes in, there is an 8 to 12 to 14 percent decrease. There has been a 20 percent decrease in sales from 1996. A 20 percent decrease is pretty detrimental. When you put in a a Playplace, there is only a 7.5 percent increase in sales,” he said.

Chichester said he would be a regular McDonald’s customer, but every time he drives by at lunchtime, the parking lot is full and he keeps on going.

“My question is how do I allow an additional structure to put more people in when the parking is inadequate?” Chichester asked.

Myers said since he took over the Minden McDonald’s in February, he’d been allowing high school students in the restaurant. The previous owner restricted the students to the drive-through.

“The high school students are only there for 20 minutes,” said Myers. “Are you going to kill a deal for only 20 minutes a day?”

According to Myers, the expanded play area brings the biggest boost in business on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday.

“Every person who comes before the board gets the same message from me,” Hadfield said. “I’m trying to make you aware of something that is a very significant issue.”

Board member Ray Wilson suggested that owners incorporate the play area on the side of building instead of in front, even though Myers said that design would cost more parking places. Myers agreed to look at Wilson’s recommendation.

The applicants also said they would meet with adjoining property owners who had concerns about parking, landscaping and litter.