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Santa Rosa City Council to weigh Chick-fil-A

By KEVIN McCALLUM

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Chick-fil-A is hoping the Santa Rosa City Council will serve up an approval this week for its fast-food restaurant on Mendocino Avenue.

The council on Tuesday will hear the company’s appeal of the Planning Commission decision last month denying the chain a permit to operate a restaurant with drive-through service on the site of a former Burger King.

Observers expect the council to overturn the lower board’s decision, which resulted from a 3-3 vote with one member absent.

City planning staff members support the company’s plans for a 4,400-square-foot restaurant, noting that its layout is pedestrian friendly and its drive-through is well designed. Drive-throughs are allowed in the city with a use-permit.

Planning Commissioners Curtis Byrd, Vicki Duggan and Caroline Banuelos all opposed the project because of the drive-through. They said the feature was unnecessary and incompatible with the neighborhood’s goals for a pedestrian-friendly community.

Other commission members said they thought the restaurant was well designed, would create jobs, would replace an eyesore and was appropriate for a busy city artery like Mendocino Avenue.

In its appeal, Chick-fil-A, based in College Park, Ga., pointed out the restaurant will be oriented to the street and will include abundant landscaping and 20 bicycle parking slots vs. 6 required by city code.

A traffic consultant estimated the restaurant would generate 2,158 vehicle trips per day. The company has said it expects to serve about 50 percent of its customers at the drive-through.

The appeal is a public hearing slated to begin at 5 p.m.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.





13 Responses to “Santa Rosa City Council to weigh Chick-fil-A”

  1. Vowel Movement says:

    Mr. East County…

    Interesting read.

    I can’t say that I subscribe to your position 100%, but I do see the writing on the wall. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the left side of the room will effect significant influence on the rest of humanity. I do hope you know what you’re doing.

    As to the right side of the room, I see the anger and totally get it. This battle isn’t winnable. Even if you rail against it your whole life, the next generation isn’t going to feel the same way as you. In fact, they’ll probably be a little left of you.

    To answer your “tipping point question”, Mr. East County, you’re just going to have to wait ‘em out. I don’t see this crowd going gently.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Steveguy says:

    Drive-thrus are so yesterday. Instead, require them to have car hops on roller skates in skimpy clothes. Oh, never mind.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Skippy says:

    “…because there are still so many defiantly unevolved denialist politicians, playing to their angry and bewildered base, this is being held up.”

    Absolutely hilarious!
    The fantasy world liberals(oops, can’t call a spade a spade; they’re progressives)live in is one of their own imagination, and bears little resemblance to the one the rest of us live in.
    Liberals are fascists at heart. They make their life-choices, then scream, defecate, sue, torch, riot and trespass in order to force everyone to follow their enlightened example.
    The “necessary transformation” spoken of is brute force, pure and simple. Object and be beaten or worse.
    Real Americans will always refuse to be bullied by elitist thugs and collectivists.
    Try us on for size, if you have any doubts.
    Don’t tread on me.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. East County Observer says:

    “The Clash of Civilizations in SR”

    This entire episode capsulates the fundamental political, economic, and environmental world-views of the conservative and progressive members of the council. We are really talking about two fundamentally different approaches to governance, based on the analysis (or lack thereof) of the key factors shaping our world. The conservatives have fixed their minds in the by-gone era of American history where no one had ever heard of catastrophic climate change, oil was cheap and abundant, and the job of the political leader was to facilitate whatever money-making scheme a business applicant might present. “We are “open for business”, is the phrase.

    Progressives like Councilwoman Gorin are aware that the task of the 21st century will be to re-engineer our infra-structure to design liveable, low-energy intensity, carbon-light businesses, homes, and transit patterns. History is on their side, but because there are still so many defiantly unevolved denialist politicians, playing to their angry and bewildered base, this necessary transformation is being held up. The real question is will we hit the tipping point before they finally are swept from power by the tides of history or will they take us down with them. Gorin is faithfully representing the concerns of her base, who know these facts and want their elected officials to act on them.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  5. Jim says:

    Did anyone watch the meeting?

    I got quite a chuckle when Gorin, with strait face, said people on foot or bicycle should be allowed to go through a drive through.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  6. Missy says:

    Anti-Xtian leftwing city council as usual. Look City Council, we are LOSING stores, that means LOSING JOBS. Sheesh.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  7. Steve Klausner says:

    Who cares, never go to Santa Rosa anymore, the streets clogged, can’t get there from here.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  8. BW Radley says:

    Having lived in the JC neighborhood at one time (as has three other generations of my family), I fail to see what the issue is with the proposed design. The site is on a major street—restaurants of this type in that sort of location require some sort of drive through for the inevitable flow of customers who want to pick up their food or beverage and drive on.

    Chick-fil-A is not my favorite fast food restaurant; however, this chain certainly has a large and devoted following. It would likely attract a large portion of its customers from pedestrian traffic from the JC and Santa Rosa High School. The use of the site for a Chick-fil-A is no different from its most recent use as a Burger King.

    In terms of the comments that the opposition “is just a pretext for anti-Christian bigotry” or part of some “New World Order” global conspiracy, the simple fact is that the JC neighborhood has always leant itself to a great deal of pedestrian traffic. It did when I was a child nearly 50 years ago when I used to walk to this site when it was a neighborhood grocery store with my great-grandmother, and the last time I checked, things have not materially changed.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  9. Vowel Movement says:

    Graham… this is not the first time you’ve leveled the accusation of “anti-Christian” at the Planning Commission. I’d love to hear any evidence you might have to support such a charge.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  10. Jim Bennett says:

    Set the Free Market free.

    Besides, man induced global warming is a lie, haven’t you heard?
    It’s actually cooling slightly right now.

    We don’t want your anti-ology oppression.
    Anti-automobile, anti-small business, anti-Property Rights, anti-Civil Rights,
    anti-Constitution.

    It’s time we become anti-ICLEI.
    Purge our community of this crap, and let’s go back to work filling our needs instead of New World Order globalists.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

  11. Graeme Wellington says:

    The “Walking Neighborhood” excuse is just a pretext for anti-Christian bigotry. If this was a minority or a gay owned franchise, do you think there’d be any objections?

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

  12. Canthisbe says:

    “Planning Commissioners Curtis Byrd, Vicki Duggan and Caroline Banuelos all opposed the project because of the drive-through. They said the feature was unnecessary and incompatible with the neighborhood’s goals for a pedestrian-friendly community”.

    If a drive-through window is not necessary, I am assuming that there are a number of other restaurants without drive-through windows lined up to fill the vacant / eye-sore properties on Mendocino Avenue that the Planning Commission is just waiting to approve. No?

    A pedestrian friendly community requires that you have places people want to walk to. Are more people likely to walk to a new, clean Chick-Fil-a restaurant than the current vacant disaster?
    It is a common problem for planning commissions and city councils to veto something good because it is not perfect in their fantasy view of the world. The better questions are is it better than what we have and is there a reasonable possibility of getting something better in the foreseeable future? In this case is Chick-fil-a better than what we have – Yes; Is there a reasonable possibility of getting something better in the foreseeable future? – No. So it should be approved.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

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