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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 8:06 pm | Fair 52º


Goleta Council Denies Appeal of McDonald’s Drive-Through But Plans Another Go-Around

City leaders vote to continue the discussion in an effort to work toward a compromise for the project at the Camino Real Marketplace

The McDonald’s restaurant in the Camino Real Marketplace may have to modify its drive-through project, even though the Goleta City Council on Tuesday night voted down an appeal of the project approval.

The Goodland Coalition appealed the Planning Commission’s approval of the drive-through, arguing that the drive-through was inconsistent with the Camino Real Marketplace’s Specific Plan. City staff recommended that the city deny the appeal, since the project was analyzed to have no significant impacts.

Council members Ed Easton, Jim Farr and Paula Perotte expressed concerns about the project during deliberations Tuesday night, and Mayor Roger Aceves said he was disappointed.

“There was nothing said today to convince me not to agree with staff,” he said, pointing to the project analysis done by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission and planning department staff.

Easton said he has issues with the Storke Road intersection and circulation in the marketplace, but said there could be ways to fix that.

Aceves then asked Easton if he thought a solution could be found.

“I’m happy to see a solution found that would make this better," Easton said. "I’d have no prejudice against seeing the project again.”

Attorney Tim Giles said the council (with three members’ support) could take a break to ask McDonald’s owner David Peterson if he would be willing to continue with the planning process or wanted a final decision Tuesday. This was around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Giles said Easton has other issues with the project but “doesn’t have his complete list here tonight.”

Ultimately, the council voted 3-2 to deny the appeal, with Farr and Perotte supporting the appeal. The council then voted 3-2 again to continue the item. Easton said he would rather find a compromise than vote the project up or down.

Easton will identify his concerns and give the applicant the opportunity to decide if he wants to modify the project to meet these concerns. If the project changes, the proposed alternative would come back to council, Giles said.

“Somehow I don’t feel the process was honored in the way that we’ve done this,” said Farr, who questioned the legality of the time-out before a motion was made. Giles said deliberations include questioning each other in attempts to find common ground.

Attorney Marc Chytilo, representing the Goodland Coalition, said the project was denied three times and would increase traffic at one of the city’s busiest intersections.

His associate Ana Citrin said the traffic mitigation plan for the project depends on improvements that may never be built, like Highway 101 overpasses at Ellwood at La Patera. They said the project would increase car trips, air pollution and traffic problems in the area.

There are future developments to consider in traffic estimates, Citrin said, pointing to the Westar project, Rincon Palms hotel, additional UCSB housing and Cabrillo Business Park that’s a half-mile away.

“You couldn’t find a worse place to put this project,” Chytilo said.

Local residents at Tuesday’s appeal hearing were split, some arguing in favor of the drive-through for convenience and disabled access, and some arguing it would worsen traffic and air pollution.

Many of the supporters said the expected 130 additional car trips wouldn’t be noticeable among the 17,000 daily trips the marketplace area sees now.

McDonald’s owner and Goleta resident David Peterson said he wants the project to be right for the community, and a drive-through would provide easier access for seniors, parents with children and the disabled. The pedestrian improvements tacked onto the project would improve the Storke Road and Marketplace Drive intersection, he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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