Dry cleaners eyes move to old Hardee’s

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

A dry cleaners has been granted a permit to operate in the vacant Hardee’s restaurant in Elk River.

Mark Leadens of Nature’s Dry Cleaners had requested a conditional use permit from the city to operate a dry cleaning establishment at 927 Highway 10. The City Council unanimously approved the permit Monday, Sept. 17.

Nature’s Dry Cleaners is currently operating at 19022 Freeport Ave.

In a related matter, the City Council approved a fire code variance allowing the dry cleaners to comply with the 2012 version of the International Fire Code (IFC). The city and state currently operate under the 2006 code.

Under the 2006 code the old Hardee’s building would require a sprinkler system; under the 2012 code it would not.

The dry cleaning system to be used at the old Hardee’s site employs advanced machine technology that allows for safe use without the protection of a fire sprinkler system, according to Matthew Anderson, an attorney for Mark and Penny Leadens of Nature’s Dry Cleaners.

“The dry cleaning system to be used by the Leadenses employs machine technology that was not contemplated at the time of the development of the 2006 IFC; it is safe for use without a sprinkler system and is permitted for use without a sprinkler system by the 2012 IFC,” Anderson wrote in a letter to Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham.

Cunningham said while they strongly encourage and recommend fire suppression systems in commercial buildings, in this case the applicant provided an acceptable justification for the approval of the variance.

The variance now goes to the state fire marshal for consideration.

The Elk River Hardee’s closed about a year ago when a new Hardee’s opened in Rogers.