The owner of King Kong can have two driveways when he supersizes his burger and gyro joint in midtown Omaha.
The City of Omaha Administrative Board of Appeals on Monday granted King Kong owner Nick Triantafillou's request for a waiver of city driveway regulations.
The action appears to clear the way for Triantafillou to knock down his restaurant at 4409 Dodge Street and replace it with a new building that seats twice as many people.
He said he may demolish the current building this summer, and that a new King Kong could open on the site by late fall.
Triantafillou's wrangle with the city began when he sought permits for his project.
The current restaurant has two driveways onto and off of Dodge Street. Even though they violate city regulations on how close driveways can be to each other or to an intersection, they could continue to exist unless there was new construction on the site.
The city denied Triantafillou a permit, citing the regulations and the reason for them — safety and traffic efficiency. Driveways, especially in close proximity to each other and intersections, create a potential for accidents between cars, and for pedestrians.
Public Works representatives told the board that there are many similar properties in the city, and expressed concern about setting a precedent by granting a waiver for King Kong.
Todd Pfitzer, city engineer, told the board Monday that King Kong is a “great business” where he has enjoyed eating several times.
“There's nothing personal here,” Pfitzer said. “It's just us trying to improve public safety.”
Public Works had offered a compromise under which King Kong could have an extra driveway that would allow delivery trucks to exit King Kong and turn right, or east, onto Dodge Street. The truck driveway would be separated from Dodge Street with temporary bollards, short metal posts that could be lowered only to let trucks out.
Triantafillou rejected that, saying it would back cars up too much if their drivers could only get out one way.
The city wouldn't go along with his plan to have a right-turn only exit from his lot for cars and trucks.
That brought about the showdown before the Administrative Board of Appeals.
The board voted 3-1 in favor of Triantafillou's appeal. David Levy, Jim Weaver and John R. Barrett voted yes. Jose Lopez-Nuno voted no.
Levy urged Triantafillou and his representative, Colliers International Vice President Brinker Harding, to work with the Public Works Department on designing the right-out-only exit driveway.
Triantafillou and Harding said they would do so.
“I'm happy,” Triantafillou said.