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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