August 16, 2010

Dear Planning Commission:

We are writing to express our concerns about the proposed In and Out Burger restaurant. We understand this is the final hearing in consideration of the Conditional Use Permit, Variance and Negative Declaration. This development has the potential to add a more of a transient element to the neighborhood with people pulling off the freeway from other communities to grab food. We do not believe that this development necessarily has the best interests of our residential community at heart. We are concerned that this precedent will give the City Council an excuse to put more chain businesses and restaurants along Industrial Road directly adjacent to our residential neighborhood with adverse impacts.

We are concerned that this development will promote more traffic in the neighborhood:

1) from San Carlos Residents driving east on Holly
2) Redwood Shores residents driving west
3) traffic from 101
4) more traffic along Industrial in both directions.

We do not believe that this development will make our neighborhood more pedestrian or bicycle friendly because it will be accessed mostly be automobiles, and does not provide positive mitigations for residents trying to cross Holly at Old County or Industrial. Condition 14 of the Use Permit does state if the project causes or contributes to significant negative parking or circulation impacts, the Planning Commission may modify or revoke this Conditional Use Permit. We’d like to see the applicant be required to help fund improved striping and the crossing at Holly and Industrial to prevent pedestrian and bicycle accidents. These improvements can be made as part of the Highway 101 overpass improvements and improvements at the Holly and Industrial Street intersection.

We are concerned about more trash on the streets, and what can be done by the City to regulate this problem if this trend becomes the norm. We already have trash impacts from the 7-11 at the Holly Street Shopper and are concerned about how trash reduction will be measured by the City. We’d like to see a condition added regarding the city’s expectation for cleanliness.

We are particularly concerned about the 15 foot buffer from the ordering queue for cars adjacent to the riparian area parallel to the 101 Overpass, which drains into the San Francisco Bay. We’d like to see the City require 25 feet of buffer instead of 15 feet. We recognize that will cause a revision to the entrance area. We’d also like to request this riparian area be improved for storm water improvements per Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements with native riparian landscaping.

We do not believe that the Variance should be issued for a 81 foot In and Out Burger sign because it is out of scale, and does not provide the type of gateway into our community that we believe deserves a Variance.  We recommend that the proposed signage be required by the Planning commission to conform to existing height regulations, and not be an exception to current ordinances.

We do appreciate that the City is trying to regulate offensive odors by requiring air scrubbers and if this development is approved we do believe this is warranted.

We’d like to see some condition language added about allowed hours of operations and a mechanism defined for noise complaints due to potential adverse impacts to the residential neighborhood.

It’s not clear how long this Conditional Use Permit is for before it needs to be renewed. While most Use Permit are for a defined period of time (i.e. 5 years) we would like to request that this Use Permit be reviewed in one year to make sure whatever improvements are necessary are addressed sooner than later by the City Planning Commission.

While we understand that the City would like to approve this development as soon as possible to secure revenue for the city we want this development to fit, and we feel there are still some improvements to be made before approval is granted.

Sincerely,

Ben Fuller, President
GESC Board
Greater East San Carlos Neighborhood

CC: GESC Residents