Addressing residents’ worries about an incoming popular fried chicken restaurant chain, city officials said this week that they will monitor noise, traffic and trash around the establishment.
A facility for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is being built at 1750 W. Olive Ave., at the corner of Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive. The close proximity of the location, which will include a drive-thru, to a neighborhood has some residents concerned. Municipal staff members and Raising Cane’s representatives have pledged to mitigate potential issues, actions City Council members pushed for during their meeting Tuesday.
Neighbors have rallied against the construction, with a flyer opposing the drive-thru being distributed in the nearby residential area at one point. Several have contacted the City Council during public comment periods, including this week, expressing concern that traffic will spill from the drive-thru into residential streets.
“I’m distressed that this project was approved by building and safety without any traffic or environmental safety, and without giving the public a chance to comment,” said resident Kim Pendergest.
The previous, partially demolished business at that intersection, a US Bank, also had a drive-thru window, but residents said it was rarely used and eventually closed. Former Councilman Timothy Murphy also called the council, saying he believed the window should be considered legally abandoned and therefore needs a permit.
Councilwoman Sharon Springer agreed, also arguing that the site plans didn’t include the required number of entry and exit driveways. Like other council members, she lamented that more couldn’t be done to address residents’ concerns since a building permit had been issued and construction was underway.
“They have been pleading with us for over six weeks, and they were concerned that … the restaurant would be finished and open before their questions would be answered,” Springer said. “And they were told sometimes, ‘Oh, our staff load, we don’t have the staff — you’ll have to wait.’ … So they’ve been patient, and they have trusted the system.”
Representatives of the city’s Community Development Department said there was nothing in the city code used to analyze the project that mentioned abandonment, however, and said there would be a sufficient number of pathways.
They added that the zoning designation that allowed the construction of the bank also gives the developers the right to construct a restaurant, which Raising Cane’s inquired about in 2019 and received a building permit for in December 2020. But city officials also said they were working with Raising Cane’s representatives to determine ways to mitigate the eatery’s impact on the local neighborhood.
For example, Raising Cane’s is considering directing staff to avoid parking on adjacent residential streets, and the city could require parking permits on those streets. City staff members also said they would monitor lines at the drive-thru for issues, potentially restricting turns or implementing other measures to cut down on traffic.
Additionally, Mayor Bob Frutos requested that city staff members bring back agenda items regarding an updated municipal ordinance for drive-thru restaurants and a protection plan for the nearby neighborhood.
Kristen Roberts, a spokeswoman for the restaurant, said on Tuesday that a letter had been mailed to residents within 1,000 feet of the site that morning. Residents can also email concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit a web page dedicated to the site at raisingcanes.com/burbank.
Nonetheless, some neighbors remained frustrated that they hadn’t been consulted about the project before, a sentiment that Councilman Nick Schultz acknowledged.
“I think we’ve all seen clearly from the public comment … that the community didn’t feel involved,” he told city staff members. “So moving forward, as you’re looking at a neighborhood protection plan and those strategies, please do continue to talk to the neighbors in that area, and I think we’ll be better off for it.”