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Proposed Chick-fil-A On El Camino Hits Another Speed Bump

A second appeal attempting to overturn construction of the nationally embattled fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has been filed, but not because of the company's president's controversial comments.

When you frown the world frowns with you, at least that is what it must seem to Chick-fil-A as a second appeal to prevent the proposed drive through at 1962 El Camino Real in Mountain View was filed Monday. Although, for entirely different reasons than one would expect.

The appeal, filed July 30, attempts to overturn a zoning administrator's July 11 decision that granted the deep-fried-fowl-fast-food chain permits allowing the construction of a drive through.

The chain has become embattled over proposed locations in other cities as a result of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's public “guilty as charged” statement opposing same-sex marriage. Mountain View already had one appeal filed against the chain as a result of those comments.

The second appeal was filed by Bruce England, co-founder and former co-chair of Green Mountain View, a grassroots organization focused on sustainability in Mountain View, on behalf of “a group of Mountain View Residents.”

While the “residents” are acting independently, England said they have had a history of success such as overturning the conditional use permit for a Shell station’s building expansion.

The heart of the appeal lies with the removal of heritage trees and the proximity of the drive through to neighboring apartment buildings.

“This project is particularly problematic, as it places the drive through and queue very close to adjacent apartments,” wrote England in an email. “As the Mercury reported, we've been working on this since late last year, well before the current focus on the company erupted.”

As was reported by the San Jose Mercury News, “Zoning administrator Peter Gilli granted a conditional use permit for a drive-thru because no nearby property owners complained and Chick-fil-A agreed to take additional steps to address light and noise pollution concerns.”

The additional steps include a proposed 7-foot-tall wall, which England said he feels will do nothing.

“It does not reach even the lowest windows of the apartment building next door,” England wrote, “and, if it did, it would block visibility from the apartment units.”

It does raise the question: if it will do nothing now, what will happen in the future?

“Likely future developments in the area will include increased residential density due to infill and population growth,” the appeal reads. “And, as it is reasonable to assume that multi-tenant building will predominate in the areas adjacent to the project location, renters, who represent the majority of the city’s population, will be most impacted by what is allowed at the location”

England’s appeal also notes that no noise-impact, light-impact or air-quality impact reports were provided or publicly available and that “It is unclear if the City noticed anyone, and, if they did, we assume it was property owners or managers only, and not tenants.”

On top of that the appeal alleges that the drive through would be inconsistent in a multitude of Mountain View’s goals such as the Grand Boulevard Initiative goals and the 2030 General Plan visioning and Environmental Sustainability Task Force’s recommendations.

Multiple heritage tree removals are also part of the proposed construction, and England notes that “one or more of these might be due specifically to the drive through inclusion.”

For now, England said all he can do is prepare for the appeals hearing and expand the roster of appeal participants.

England can be reached at mvcfaappeal@gmail.com, while more information on Green Mountain View can be found on their site. A copy of the appeal is attached at the head of this article. 

Does England’s appeal change your opinion on a new Chick-fil-A? Take our and tell us, be sure to tell us why if it does! Remember, this is NOT a scientific poll, but it does show tendencies

The Real Anon August 06, 2012 at 02:59 AM
The additional steps include a proposed 7-foot-tall wall, which England said he feels will do nothing. “It does not reach even the lowest windows of the apartment building next door,” England wrote, “and, if it did, it would block visibility from the apartment units.” So, he can't be satisfied, apparently. It should be obvious that in order to mitigate "light pollution" you would have to have a barrier (unless you simply don't emit any light pollution. Besides, if that were a private property owner, they could plant a row of trees or put a building with a tall side right there that would "block visibility" and the apartment people wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it. Why hold a commercial operator to a different standard?
Roger Pickler August 07, 2012 at 07:51 PM
This is just another attempt of bullying by a group to exhort funds from another commercial enterprise. This project has gone through various hearings and approvals. Where was Mr. England during those times. He missed his opportunity. Dismiss him and his group.

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