Drive-thru Coffee Shop Proposed Next to Nightingale

Initial plans for a couple to operate a drive-thru coffee and breakfast shop, to be known as The Morning Dove in a parking lot across from the Nightingale Supper Club, were presented Jan. 17 before Sturgeon Bay’s Plan Commission.

John and Farrah Heikkila, owners of the Nightingale, have requested that the .81-acre lot located along Alabama Street east of Egg Harbor Road be rezoned from Agricultural (A) to General Commercial (C-1). 

John Heikkila said the parking lot, which is now used for the Nightingale’s overflow parking and as a bus pickup and dropoff for the Sevastopol School District, would still be available for those purposes upon the coffee shop being built there. 

“The idea is to put a drive-thru coffee shop on the east side that we currently do not have [in Sturgeon Bay],” he said. “We feel like it would be a good spot, considering that location, outside of McDonald’s, there’s not much to get for breakfast drive-thru.”

The business description provided to the commission calls for hours of operation from 6 am-noon with offerings that include a variety of coffee drinks, bagels, baked goods and breakfast sandwiches.

John Heikkila said The Morning Dove would have a drive-thru window with an ordering menu about four car lengths behind that window and another walk-up window on the back side of the lot where benches and tables could be set up.  

The parking lot is presently considered a nonconforming use in the Agricultural district, and the proposed commercial rezoning doesn’t comply with the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan. Instead, the future land use designates the site for public and institutional purposes. But city planner/zoning administrator Stephanie Servia said city staff believes this designation is related to the property’s proximity near the Door County Fairgrounds and is likely a mapping error. 

Servia said there has been no discussion of developing the site for those purposes either during or since the comprehensive plan’s creation.

Community development director Marty Olejniczak said the label for Alabama Street covered the lot on maps drafted for the 2040 comprehensive plan, thereby making the public and institutional designation unnoticeable.

“I think that’s why [the mapping error] didn’t get caught, and it would have if not for that, I’m quite certain,” he said.

Olejniczak said the lot borders commercial property on two sides, so it could be argued rezoning the lot for commercial use wouldn’t be in conflict with the comprehensive plan.

“The only risk would be if a disgruntled neighbor or other citizen would want to sue us over changing the zoning not being in the comprehensive plan,” he said. “I think it’s a very low risk. I do think – and we talked about this with a few other areas of the city – where some type of – I call it like a cleanup – a [comprehensive] plan amendment probably should be brought forward in the near future.”

The Heikkilas’ appearance before the commission amounted to an initial presentation and review for an informal discussion with no decisions made. The commission agreed to have them return Feb. 21 for a public hearing on their rezoning request.

Related Organizations