The fate of a planned Chick-fil-A restaurant across the street from PCC will be in the hands of the Pasadena City Council on May 5 after a city councilman again asked the council to reconsider the project.
Councilman Terry Tornek asked the council to review plans from Chick-fil-A to open a fast food franchise in old Burger King building on Colorado Boulevard, but the city has been reluctant to approve the company’s plan for a two-lane drive-through.
The process has been frustrating for the company.
“The city has to be very careful with what it says,” Chick-fil-A project manager Ed Hale said. “This whole process in which Chick-fil-A has been thrown through could discourage other corporations from coming into Pasadena.”
Tornek said that was possible, but that this situation was unique. He also said that he had called Chick-fil-A back up because he was concerned about the expansion of the drive-through, which he called a non-conforming use.
Hale said that the language used in the zoning law on this issue was “absent” and that Chick-fil-A had spent over $100,000 to conform to the city’s demands.
“We are being held hostage on this matter,” Hale said. “The city’s staff agrees with us and is baffled by how this has played out. The city’s own Board of Zoning approved the plans. What more is there to say on this issue?”
The Board of Zoning approved the plans for Chick-fil-A on March 19. In an April 3 email to the city council, Chick-fil-A development supervisor Jennifer Daw asked the council if these plans had to be vetted again.
“It is hard to understand how another hearing accomplishes anything productive…” Daw said in the email. “The process we are experiencing is anything but streamlined.”
The restaurant plans were originally approved by the city last December. However, Tornek appealed the approval and students and the PCC administration vehemently opposed the restaurant’s proposal because of its history of supporting anti-gay groups.
Senior Vice President Robert Miller said he would be there to observe, but stressed that he would not say anything on behalf of the college.
“The board has not taken a position on this yet,” Miller said. “I respect where Hale is coming from. I would expect him to have that perspective. Our position is that a Chick-fil-A or any fast food restaurant may not be the highest and best use for that property going forward. That’s just additional information for the city council to be aware of.”