By Conrad Dudderar
A proposed mixed-use development focused on classic cars in Yukon’s historic downtown district earned unanimous support this week from the Yukon City Council.
Council members voted 4-0 at their May 2nd meeting to approve a conditional use permit for the Route 66 Pit Stop, 517 and 519 W Main.
That action came after a neighboring business owner expressed his opposition to the proposal.
Applicant Justin Greenfield and his business partner Charles Bodiker plan to develop a mixed-use facility that capitalizes on Yukon as a destination point along the Mother Road.
“We want to do something that is Route 66 based,” said Bodiker, the project architect.
“Route 66 is an iconic attraction. I really love the idea of not just having another stopping point for Route 66, but the fact that so much more of this belongs to Yukon.”
This will provide a cruise point in downtown Yukon to connect with a “Cars and Coffee” event hosted by John Nail Jr.’s Stone Mill Plaza retail center on Yukon Parkway, Bodiker pointed out.
The Route 66 Pit Stop concept features family-friendly auto-related activities, a special automobile dealership, restaurants, coffee/ice cream shop, and other businesses in the buildings at 517 and 519 W Main; along with an outdoor gathering space for events and video/movie nights in an open lot on the west side.
“When you go through a venue on Route 66, you can either fill up your gas tank or you can get some food,” Bodiker related. “But you really don’t have anything to do.
“We’re trying to fix that. We want to have something to do. Not only for the adults that have the nice cars, but for the kids that are into those things.”
PARKING, NOISE, SMELLS
Butch Hensley, who has a business directly east at 505 W Main, said he was notified about three weeks ago about the Route 66 Pit Stop proposal.
Hensley shared concerns about parking, loud noise and exhaust fumes from vehicles.
“Everything else they’re doing I think will be great for downtown,” he told the city council. “I’m just a little nervous about what kind of car dealership they’re going to have and what kind of requirements we’re going to have on them to avoid things like noise, smells and traffic.”
Bodiker called Hensley’s concerns valid.
He referred to ongoing discussions that address parking downtown and he understands the noise issue.
“I drive a Challenger – it’s a loud car,” he said. “We are putting in – as required by Yukon – sound-isolating measures and also some landscaping to help separate some of those items.”
At 517 W Main, Greenfield and Bodiker plan to focus on antique car restoration and sell Land Rover Defender vehicles manufactured in the United Kingdom. The building previously was an auto repair shop.
Plans call for building at 519 W Main to be divided into small retail spaces housing several tenants – such as a coffee shop, restaurant and car parts store.
The Route 66 Pit Stop’s developers envision the lot on the west side having a projection screen for Yukon content creators to display to a crowd, concrete ping pong tables with steel nets, food trucks, and a “Yukon Ride of the Week” that showcases cool cars, boats and trucks.
“The focus is family friendly,” Bodiker emphasized. “It is not a bar destination, even though we’re looking at a restaurant that would serve alcohol.”
Bodiker anticipates vehicle traffic only being heavy during “off-hours” on weekends.
“Think Pops,” he said, referring to the Arcadia tourist stop. “Pops 66 (Soda Ranch) is a similar arrangement.”
Hensley asked how the applicant would “stop the noise, smells and traffic” on the east side adjacent to his business.
Vehicles will not be started inside the proposed repair shop at 517 W Main because that is “against code,” Bodiker replied.
These vehicles will be pushed in and out of the building, he added.
LET’S HAVE COFFEE
Route 66 is a “worldwide icon”, Greenfield emphasized.
“We’re located on Route 66, so we want to work with the community as best we can,” Greenfield told Hensley, a 25-year Yukon Main Street business owner.
“This is a challenge. I want to meet you, go to coffee and figure out how to work it out. The concept is still open, but we want to give something back to Yukon.”
Greenfield told city council members and other residents the Route 66 Pit Stop will be an attraction that helps Yukon.
“There’s really no where in Oklahoma that’s a car-centered Route 66 spot, and I think that’s a shame” he pointed out. “This part of Yukon is special. I love it. But it’s getting forgotten about.
“All the traffic is moving to (I-)40. All the new development is over there. This is an opportunity to bring the heart of Yukon back to the city hall (area). We have a lot of parking around city hall that could be a revenue generator.”
These conditions are part of the Route 66 Pit Stop’s conditional use permit:
- Site-proofing screening will be required along the alley consisting of a minimum 6-foot opaque fence or dense vegetation to block noise and light from adjacent neighbors. Access from the alley will be from a maximum 30-foot driveway.
- Established hours of operation for food trucks and outdoor events will be Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight.
- Electronic messaging displays will not be permitted.
The conditional use permit is reviewable annually, according to Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort.