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Council OKs changes for new restaurant
Conditional use permit modified
The Porterville City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of modifying a conditional use permit issued to the developer of a new drive-thru restaurant that was not built as proposed.
A sign in front of the building indicates it will be home to a second Red Onion hamburger joint.
The developer’s original plans, approved by the council in 2008, called for the construction of a drive-thru restaurant and a drive-thru coffee kiosk. City staff spotted the deviations during the building’s final inspection. Some components of the building were also out of compliance with the design standards of the city’s zoning ordinance. Some of the major deviations include the omission of the coffee kiosk, the addition of windows, and the elimination of an outdoor dining area and tables, said city officials.
On March 5, the council conducted a public hearing on the matter. At that meeting, Vice Mayor Pete McCracken and Councilman Cameron Hamilton said they were concerned about setting precedent by approving the changes. After the hearing, the council requested the developer, Mary McClure, submit plans showing proposed corrections to the approved plans, specifically, the installation of street lighting, screening a roof-mounted air conditioning unit from public view and ensuring the exterior lighting attached to the building was not facing residences.
City Clerk Luisa Herrera said the proposed corrections were submitted late Monday afternoon.
The new plans, distributed to the council at its regular meeting Tuesday night, propose the addition of an outside dining area as well as metal awnings above the windows on the front of the building and above the drive-thru window. The plans also show the roof-mounted air conditioner will be screened by a foam facade to match the building.
The only change the council did not agree with was the location of a proposed street light — across the street from the structure rather than on the northeast corner of Putnam Avenue.
Mark Hillman, the project’s designer, said a street light could not be installed at the requested location because there is a palm tree in the way.
Hillman added that the street light was never mentioned in the conditional use permit approved five years ago.
“I think everybody forgot about [the CUP]. I feel it’s a negligence on our part and the city’s part, not including that in the original plans...but it sat there for five years and a lot of it got forgotten,” he said.
McCraken said he had a hard time moving forward with addressing the aesthetic changes to the building without knowing where the street light was going in.
“We’ve been through this once and for me to move forward I’m going to need a street light defined...I don’t think the city should be granting concessions just because somebody forgot, McCracken said, his comment drawing light applause from the audience.
A motion was made to approve the proposed modifications and the addition of a brick facade and a safety bollard to protect a gas meter that sits in front of the building.
In other business:
-during the oral communications portion of the meeting, Donnette Carter, president and CEO of the Porterville Chamber of Commerce said Sutton Iris Gardens will be leaving town this fall. Carter stressed the Iris Festival will continue despite the loss;
-the council approved the Porterville Police Department’s purchase of more than $7,300 worth of ammunition;
-the council accepted more than $69,600 in state grant funds and approved an increase in staffing for the police department by one sworn position for the assignment of an officer to the “Post Release Community Supervision” program, which entails tracking high-risk offenders released as part of the state’s jail realignment.