- 2014 - January - 15th -

Zoning for Chick-fil-A, Cabana Grill OK’d

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

A controversial commercial rezoning of a Mandarin property Tuesday brought dozens of the community's residents to City Council, where for hours they argued for and against the site that could house a Cabana Grill and Chick-fil-A.

After several developer concessions, council passed the two accompanying bills 18-1, with council member Stephen Joost the lone dissenter.

Residents against the changes to the site at San Jose Boulevard and Oak Bluff Lane argued the development would bring additional traffic to two-lane Oak Bluff.

A proposal to allow a right turn into and out of the development was approved last week by the council's Land Use and Zoning Committee. Residents against the project said that would have been too much traffic and wanted, at least, for just the right turn out to Oak Bluff.

Residents against the proposal also said the developer had not sought their input on the plans.

"The thing we have to remember — when it's over with, everyone gets to go home except the residents. They have to live that forever," said Dick Kravitz, a former council member and state representative who lives in Mandarin.

"They just want more input … the majority just wants something that they can live with," he said.

A town hall meeting Monday hosted by Joost on the issue attracted about 170 people, he said Tuesday.

Joost wanted the issue returned to the land use committee. Last week's land use committee meeting lasted until about midnight and with many of the issues already discussed there, many council members indicated they were not inclined to let the issue continue.

Instead, during a recess called after the public spoke, Joost and Oak Bluff Property LLC attorney Paul Harden came to an agreement on several concessions to the project.

They were:

• There could be no "cross-action easement" — a cut-across from other businesses — from a neighboring Target or real estate office. If allowed, traffic from those businesses could access the development from their parking lots.

• The developer installing and maintaining a turn-only lane on Oak Bluff into the development. That condition is subject to approval of the planning and development department.

• The drive-thru for the restaurant has to be located on the south side of the building, away from Oak Bluff. The drive-thru hours could only be 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Deliveries to those restaurants could only be during those hours.

• A western portion of the Oak Bluff property used for retention could only be used for that such purpose.

Attorney Jack Webb, a former Mandarin council member who helped organize the efforts against the project, called the result "the best of a bad situation."

Mandarin council representative Matt Schellenberg advocated for the changes and did not want to see the project delayed any further.

He said afterward that despite the outcry by some residents, he thought most of his district approved.

"I think it went the Mandarin way," he said afterward.

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