Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sacramento says no to a McDonalds in the Oak Park neighborhood

(Update from earlier in the week.)

Normally, this wouldn't be particularly noteworthy news, it's just that examples of elected officials upholding laws and plans in the face of real estate development interests are rare--instead they are usually providing exceptions to the rules.  From "Sacramento council nixes planned McDonald's in Oak Park" in the Sacramento Bee:

Several council members spoke of voting to block McDonald's not because the restaurant would be a bad neighbor, but specifically because of the drive-thru. It was not an approved use for the 1-acre empty lot at Stockton Boulevard and Second Avenue, adjacent to the largely gentrified gateway to North Oak Park.

The vote essentially reaffirms the city's general plan for the Stockton Boulevard corridor and supports an April decision by the city Planning Commission to deny McDonald's a special permit.

Councilman Jay Schenirer made the motion to deny McDonald's appeal of the Planning Commission decision. "It's not a question of the quality of your food; it's a question about the right land use," Schenirer said. "People have choices about their neighborhood, and the energy in Oak Park, the positive attitude of the people who live there is really critical in a community."

The Planning Commission had found that the McDonald's proposal left unresolved the issues of "site layout, building design, traffic, quality of life, air quality, noise and proposed hours of operation."

Franchisee John Ritchey said in an interview last week that certain aspects of his proposal were flexible, but the drive-thru was not negotiable. According to McDonald's business model, the restaurants need the draw of the drive-thru to be profitable.

The drive-thru was the main point of contention in the nearby neighborhood because it would have routed about 1,000 cars daily from Stockton Boulevard onto Second Avenue, a residential street with bike lanes.

So a "drive through" is non-negotiable.  Well, maintaining walkable neighborhoods should be non-negotiable too.

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