Pleasant Hill residents oppose In-N-Out proposal

September 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A fast food fight is underway in the East Bay over a proposal to build an In-N-Out burger restaurant on North Main Street near Oak Park Boulevard in Pleasant Hill. It's right on the border of Walnut Creek, and on Tuesday night neighbors protested.

Some Walnut Creek residents claim they have nothing against In-N-Out and even enjoy the juicy burgers, but they just don't want In-N-Out to move into their neighborhood.

Walnut Creek's Laura Milstead has collected 400 signatures all opposed to putting a 3,700-square foot In-N-Out on a lot on North Main Street, just inside the Pleasant Hill border.

"Thousands of people, thousands of cars. This area can't handle any more... any more traffic and no matter what they try to reconfigure, we simply don't have the room," says Milstead.

The chain's popularity is part of the problem. Neighbors are well aware the drive-thru can stretch well beyond the parking lot.

"We understand that the value and the benefit comes to Pleasant Hill and that's good for Pleasant Hill, but what comes to Walnut Creek and comes to our neighborhood is the traffic, the trash and the congestion," says neighbor Gary Goldstein.

"It's just right there, that whole property, about 40 feet," says neighbor Kevin Alden.

Alden's home is close to the proposed drive-thru. He's especially worried about late-night noise that could continue until 1 a.m.

In-N-Out spokesman Carl Van Fleet told ABC7 the company would steer exiting cars away from neighborhood streets, take drive-thru orders face to face, and build sound walls and hire security guards to mitigate neighbors' concerns.

But these residents still wonder why Pleasant Hill needs an In-N-Out here, when one is already planned for another location three miles away.

Van Fleet told ABC7 that's actually part of the company's traffic mitigation strategy, "...placing two restaurants in Pleasant Hill along the 680 would mean that each of them would have fewer visitors than if we had just one restaurant there."

The residents want the second In-N-Out to be rejected by the planning commission. The members of that commission did not respond to ABC7's request for comment Tuesday. The public hearing on the North Main Street proposal is set for Oct. 12.


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