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Council Denies Entire Chick-fil-A Project

Officials found problems with potential traffic, noise, pollution, and bike and pedestrian safety.

Updated with comment from Mayor Mike Kasperzak on 10/18/12 at 11:30 a.m.

Chick-fil-A representatives stood around stunned after the Mountain View City Council voted to scrap their entire restaurant and drive-through proposal Tuesday night.

In a vote of 4-2, with one abstention - which overturned the Zoning Administrator's grant of a conditional use permit - a majority of the council felt the expected car traffic caused by the drive-thru would have been excessive. They also felt an independent study of the secondary effects like noise and contamination should have been done. More than 40 people, mostly residents, shared passionate pleas both in favor and against.

"I have broad reasons for denying Chick-fil-A," said Councilwoman Ronit Bryant, who thought a drive-thru was incompatible with the pedestrian and bike-oriented Grand Boulevard Project. "I don't think it fits in with our vision."

"It's the wrong location; perhaps near a freeway," she said. "And Chick-fil-A said they can't drop the drive-through." Vice Mayor John Inks and Councilman Tom Means voted to uphold.

Mayor Mike Kasperzak had to leave and abstained. However he sent Mountain View Patch the following comment:

"As for last night, while I obviously didn't hear all the testimony, I had very real concerns about the combined impacts, and lack of study, of the new signal and the CFA on the Gemello, LAHS and Almond School areas. There are already traffic calming measures in the area and I think there would have been significantly more traffic. At the same time, I don't think we should ban all drive thru's until we have adopted such a policy, if we do."

Chick-fil-A had proposed a 4,433 sq. ft. fast-food restaurant that would lease the lot at 1962 W. El Camino Real and replace the Sizzler presently at that location. They expected to service an average of 60 cars an hour via the drive-thru. Senior Development Manager Don Ikeler said "financially this location won't work without a drive-thru." It would have created as many as 60 jobs.

During public comments, Kathy Lin, the current property owner of the lot, explained Chick-fil-A offered to pay market value for that location and current leasee Sizzler said they wouldn't. She appeared very upset at the decision and refused to talk to reporters after the vote.

"This makes me sad," said Blake Goodman, senior real estate manager for Chick-fil-A after the vote. "I feel residents spoke up. They addressed the concerns and I feel council didn't listen to the people in the community. We still love Mountain View."

The resolution the council voted on had been amended to allow Chick-fil-A the opportunity to reapply with a condition they also took into account the safety of pedestrian and bicyclists. Goodman didn't answer questions about whether they planned to reapply for a permit to construct a restaurant without a drive-thru.

"We've tried for a long time to get here," he said.

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Nick October 19, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I wonder, then, how might one tell the difference between a councilmember not wanting another drive-through in the area versus this "politically correct liberal agenda" you speak of?
Jeanne Sanders October 19, 2012 at 04:07 AM
in answer to Nick ..I can only speak for my self...I do consider my self a liberal in life and in my political view points..this project has been going on for a long time at great expense to this company..they have been led along to believe it was doable..and i truely believe it was shelved in the interest of being politically correct....i have had frends call me from New York asking was it true mountain view did not allow white plastic chairs in down town business's...is it true an assemblywoman from your town wants to make it a crime to spank your children ? they heard it on the news...and guess what, this issue also made it on the noon news...we are becomeing the nut capital of the area..I hardly think it would have been news worthy if people did not think this was a political issue....I can see it now..noon news....".mtn. view ca. denies Chick-fil-A a permit due to drive up window"....oh yes and by the way..in the not so distant past a walgreens in the same area was allowed a drive through window....just smells funny to me.......and one of the people running for reelection happenes to bail out of the meeting before the vote.....that could be a clue to answer your question
Jeanine Valadez October 19, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Your arguments about "liberal intolerance" were the same ones used by supporters of apartheid and by investors in corporations that supported/financed apartheid. Same can be said about proponents of slavery, women's right to vote, equal pay for equal work, etc. Tolerance is not a reciprocal concept. It's about human rights. Minorities have NEVER been given voice or validation by popular vote. And history has almost always landed on the side of human rights. While the considerations of traffic, healthfulness of food, and community environment fostered by the vendor, are all substantive reasons to deny this restaurant, the human rights issues are equally important considerations. I doubt our community would approve a vendor that supported the KKK. Or would we? Would we approve permits to display "artful" swastikas on our city streets? Would we allow freedom of speech to apply to screaming FIRE in a crowded venue? All these constructs are built on the underlying premise of protecting minorities from fear, victimzation, or worse, and (importantly) protecting the masses from becoming a danger to themselves as well.
Jeanine Valadez October 19, 2012 at 06:42 AM
I highly doubt that Mountain View will have any trouble finding less controversial alternative vendors for this excellent site. We need more real-meal restaurants and less fast food. We don't need vendors that divide the community. We need vendors that will unite it, make it more, not less, inclusive, regardless of one's political position or preference for slavery, swastikas, the KKK, or women's right to vote, drive cars, or get equal pay for equal work.
Claudia Cruz October 22, 2012 at 08:41 AM
@David, you seem to know a lot about that property. Do you following commercial real estate transactions in Mountain View closely? Now I'm curious about the previous title holders at the site too.

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