San Jose community fights proposed McDonald's

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The developer wants to put McDonald's in a spot that's been an empty lot for 20 years. Many residents say they'd rather it stay empty, than become a McDonald's.

"I've heard from a number of you already, I now you're not shy about your opinions," San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant said.

Constant organized the community meeting to discuss the possibility of a McDonald's with a drive-through opening in a portion of the Orchard Farm Shopping Center. It's right across the street from Hyde Middle School.

"We don't like to have 11, 12, 13, and 14-year-olds worried about crossing streets," track coach Bernie Sheahan said.

"A tremendous risk exists for one of them getting hit," resident Doris Livezey said.

An increase in traffic isn't their only concern.

"We've got the children across the street that are gonna try to sneak over here or Cupertino High School that will zoom here to get their lunch," resident JoAnn Mendez said. "How unhealthy is that?"

Santa Clara was the first county in the country to ban toys from high fat, fast food meals. Many say a McDonalds here would just be a step in the wrong direction.

"Not smart to put a McDonalds right there next to Hyde Middle School," student Austin Mattox said.

But there is a McDonald's drive-through right across the street from Prospect High School. And students there love it.

"It's actually pretty nice because I can just go there right after school every day," student Alex Jalagnia said.

Right now at Orchard Farm there's already a pizza place, a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant inside the center. That's why some don't' see a problem with a new addition.

"It's would be very attractive to get more people to this shopping center," said shopping center tenant Ann Woo.

In the meantime, McDoanld's is promising to try to work it out.

"We are committed to making enhancements and will fairly consider and listen to tonight's dialogue," McDonald's area construction manager Margaret Trujillo said.

This area is zoned for a fast food restaurant, but not for one with a drive-through. Many residents vow to fight both.

The city council will vote on the issue April 16.

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