Fast-food restaurant to be built in Carrizo Plain

A proposal for a fast-food restaurant and motel in the Carrizo Plain has received the go-ahead from the county, creating jobs ancillary to the hundreds that have been created by the solar power plants in the remote corner of the county.

California Serengeti Corp can now seek construction permits for its would-be fast-food restaurant on the east side of Soda Lake Road, about 2 miles south of Highway 58. It also will remodel its 22-unit motel into a 10-unit motel with 30 free-standing cabins surrounding it.

Serengeti's Kenneth Tab said workers from the solar plants in California Valley already rent the motel rooms and an expansion would allow more of them to stay in the valley, rather than having to make a costly commute.

While there is a food store, a fast-food restaurant would give visitors more options, Tab said.

The county approved Tab’s application Nov. 2. Nobody appealed during the two-week appeal period.

It was a more salubrious outcome for Tab than in his previous effort to build on his rural property.

In August 2011, the Board of Supervisors rejected Tab's more elaborate proposal for a 100-bed rehabilitation and residential care facility.

Supervisors said they worried about the size and remoteness of the project, had concerns about emergency response time, and said the facility would compete for scarce water.

They also said the rehab center would have been out of character with surrounding land uses, which are largely cattle grazing and dry-land farming.

Tab said agriculture on the plain is not as robust as the county says, adding that many of the farmers there receive federal subsidies.