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Chick-fil-A Fails Sixth Attempt to Move Ahead in Pasadena

Published on Monday, January 20, 2014 | 5:17 am

After six years of repeated attempts to enter the City of Pasadena, City Council deterred Chick-fil-A once again by voting down its latest plan last week.

The newest proposal that would place Chick-fil-A on Colorado Boulevard across the street from Pasadena City College was passed by the hearing officer, but was appealed by Councilmember Terry Tornek.

“We made drive-thrus a non-conforming use for a reason and we deemed them not to be what we aspire to in Pasadena,” Tornek said.

In previous planning documents for the city, the Council chose to eliminate new drive-thrus on Colorado Boulevard, but could not remove existing drive-thrus like the one that exists at the vacated Burger King currently on the location Chick-fil-A hopes to acquire. The Burger King building is located on the corner of Bonnie Ave. and Colorado Boulevard.

“Chick-fil-a wants to be in your city really badly. Probably our last option to be part of this community is the Burger King site,” Brian Wright, senior real-estate representative for Chick-Fil-A said.

Listing at least six properties that were previously denied, Chick-fil-A representatives expressed frustration with the process.

“Everybody is telling us ‘we want your brand in the city.’ However, every time we make an approach or try to create an opportunity, were constantly getting pushback for one reason or another,” Wright said.

However, this time had been different. This time city staff had given Chick-fil-A “enthusiastic support.” The appeal from City Council came as a “total shock.”

The proposal asks to expand the current Burger King building and add a second drive-thru.

“I think that’s a pretty tall order given how we treat our planning documents in the city of Pasadena. I would suggest that if you really want to be in the city you ought to give serious consideration to documents that are currently in place,” Councilmember Victor Gordo said.

Chick-fil-A Development Manager Jennifer Dobb explained the beauty of the building and the new opportunity for Pasadena City College students for full and part time employment. The restaurant would employ 50 to 60 students.

“We are preparing our application to enter a float into the 2015 Tournament of Roses parade, to coincide with the opening of our first restaurant in Pasadena on the parade route. What better way to demonstrate our commitment to this city and to the community?” Dobb said.

Chick-fil-A has already invested $100,000 into the project, including a large sum to complete a traffic impact study.

However, being sent to the Board of Zoning Appeals will not stop Chick-fil-A yet.

“Were excited to be in Pasadena and we will continue to fight to be here,” Senior Project Manager Ed Hale said.

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