McDonald’s advertising campaign — “I’m lovin’ it” — apparently hasn’t connected with a vocal contingent of Los Osos residents who oppose the idea of a fast-food chain restaurant, many saying it doesn’t fit the town’s character.
But others are indeed “lovin’” the idea of job creation, tax revenues and filling a vacant building.
Residents sent a flood of letters to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission before a hearing on the chain restaurant’s proposal in February. And now the debate will continue Tuesday, when the county Board of Supervisors will consider the McDonald’s proposal for a 50-seat eatery in the Vons shopping center on Los Osos Valley Road.
The restaurant would move into a vacant 4,000-square-foot Bank of America building and would provide an estimated 35 new jobs, according to a county staff report.
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The Planning Commission approved the project on Feb. 6 with a 4-1 vote but denied the applicant’s request for a drive-through window.
The applicant — Santa Maria-based MWF Properties and McDonald’s LLC — has appealed that denial to the Board of Supervisors seeking approval of the drive-through. The board also will consider whether to issue a minor use permit that would enable the project to go forward.
The board is expected to address the issue after it convenes its afternoon session at 1:30 p.m.
Complaints about the McDonald’s proposal have included that it would be a misfit with the town’s character; create an unhealthy lifestyle; negatively impact traffic, parking and the environment by adding pollution; increase uses of water and wastewater; and hurt mom-and-pop restaurants.
“As a longtime resident of Los Osos, I am absolutely against a McDonald’s, especially a 24-hour drive-through restaurant in my town,” Robb Albrecht wrote in a letter to the supervisors. “With the impending drought, do we really need another giant construction project? Do we really need a 24-hour drive-through in a town of 14,200 people? Do we really need another place that serves junk food? No. No. No.”
Those in favor of the project highlighted potential jobs, revitalizing a vacant building and additional tax revenues.
“It will provide employment for our younger and senior residents on fixed incomes and fundraising opportunities for our local schools,” Los Osos resident Tom Cash wrote. “It will also add to the tax base in a vacant retail space. Please approve this project for the betterment of the entire community.”
As a condition of the project’s approval, the Planning Commission directed the applicant to offset water demand by retrofitting local plumbing fixtures in homes and businesses, reducing demand by 698 gallons per day.
The new restaurant would use an estimated 1,250 gallons per day.
Additional striping in the shopping center’s parking lot would also be a condition of the new McDonald’s, and parking would be adequate, according to planners.