Appeal sought in Paco’s Tacos denial
A couple seeking to build a drive-through restaurant at the corner of Mill Street and French Avenue want to plead their case before the Grass Valley City Council.
The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
The couple, David and Susan Wambaugh of Rough and Ready, are appealing the Grass Valley Planning Commission’s decision Nov. 19 to reject their plans for a fast-food establishment, Paco’s Tacos, at the bottom of French Avenue, saying the project – a 1,425-square-foot building on a half-acre parcel – was too big and would create too much traffic. The vote was unanimous.
“I believe the action of the commission was unwarranted and purely a response to the emotional opposition of neighbors to the concept of a ‘fast food drive-through’ in their neighborhood,” David Wambaugh wrote in his appeal letter, dated Nov. 25.
Wambaugh said the property was properly zoned and the proposed Paco’s Tacos building conformed to city standards. Furthermore, he said, the city’s Development Review Committee supported the project because the committee can approve projects that are less than 2,000 square feet. Thus, the plans should have never come before the Planning Commission for final approval at all, he said.
But Planning Commission Chairwoman Lisa Swarthout disagrees. The building is more than 2,000 square feet if one takes into account the outdoor area, Swarthout said Sunday. (Under the city ordinance, the Development Review Committee can approve projects “less than 2,000 square feet of floor area including outdoor use area.)
Under city rules, the Design Review Committee makes recommendations to the Planning Commission. The committee also can give the final green light to projects that are small, routine and non-controversial.
City officials have repeatedly discussed heavy traffic along French Avenue.
“Why would the city agree to permit a business in a neighborhood that is going to add more traffic?” French Avenue resident Steve Gradhandt said Sunday. The city has recently agreed that traffic along French Avenue is a problem, he said. “It is a bad location for that kind of business,” he said of the Paco’s Tacos site.
“This is a residential neighborhood,” he said of French Avenue. ” We don’t want a fast-food restaurant in our neighborhood that would attract more vehicles on French Avenue.”
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