Plans to tear down and rebuild the McDonald's restaurant at Hatch and Mitchell roads received the approval of the Ceres Planning Commission on Monday.
Vigen, Inc., representatives from Fresno went before the panel to win approval of a Conditional Use Permit to demolish the "store" and replace it with a larger 4,977-square-foot eatery. The current restaurant is 3,524 square feet.
Commissioners Bob Kachel, Dave Chapman and Hugo Molina voted 3-0 to approve the project. Commissioners Gary Del Nero and Laurie Smith were absent. Commissioners said they appreciated the details and aesthetics of the proposed building.
"The applicant indicated that they are getting construction plans together to submit for a building permit soon and hope to have the new McDonald's open this year," said city of Ceres Community Development Director Tom Westbrook.
City planning staff had no objections with the request but had been working with McDonald's since May of 2012 about interior and exterior remodeling the existing restaurant. After completion of the review and plan check of the building permit, the applicant elected to forego the remodel of their existing restaurant and proceeded to work with staff on the possibility of expanding their operation, in which staff determined that the proposed expansion of the use required the approval of a new Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
The application for a CUP had been filed on May 1, 2013. Since that time, the applicant has been working with staff to fulfill the application requirements, improve the overall design of the proposed building and to address the city's parking requirements for the project. Delaying the project were negotiations between McDonalds and Walmart to extract 18 additional parking spaces from the neighboring Walmart parking lot. City staff said with 90 seats in the new restaurant, a minimum of 30 parking spaces normally would be required, which means the project is currently eight spaces shy. However, because it is anticipated there would also be a minimum of five employees working during at any given time, Director of Community Development Tom Westbrook determined that 40 parking spaces are needed to ensure that sufficient parking is available.
The project includes the construction of a two-lane drive-thru approach as well as parking and landscape improvements.