The final layer of red tape was snipped last week Wednesday, opening a path for A&W to return to Ripon.

Only, its franchise owners were not on hand to see it.

“No-shows” seemed to be the theme during last week’s Plan Commission meeting, as two of the three groups with issues on the agenda did not appear. Nor did three of the seven Plan Commission members, though two were excused.

Among those absent were representatives of the Condon Cos., which owns the Ripon franchise for A&W.

Though Condon was not on hand to witness it, the Plan Commission members felt the schematics the company submitted were adequate, and approved the site plan for the rebuilt A&W 4-0.

The only caveat is Condon still must submit updated calculations to satisfy the city’s landscaping requirements. But, as commission member Bill Hoch pointed out, the site plan showed what appeared to be plenty of landscaping to satisfy the city’s needs.

Reconstruction of A&W became necessary after a spring 2011 fire gutted the old structure that stood on the corner of Blackburn and Seward streets.

What remained was torn down later that year, and the site remained a gravel lot since, though a nearby sign continues to promise that “A&W will be back.”

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