Proposal to build new Chick-fil-A at former Grant Boys location heads to Costa Mesa council

Proponents of building a new Chick-fil-A on the Costa Mesa property that long housed the Grant Boys outdoor-gear store will take their case to the City Council on Tuesday.

Council members are scheduled to decide whether to uphold a Planning Commission decision to deny the project — which would entail building a 1,999-square-foot fast-food restaurant at 1750 Newport Blvd. in the city’s downtown area.

The proposed restaurant would have drive-through and walk-up service but no interior seating. Existing structures on the site would be demolished.

Planning commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal April 10, citing concerns with how a drive-through restaurant could hinder traffic flow in the area.

As proposed, vehicles would enter the site from Rochester Street — a two-lane road — and exit onto Newport Boulevard.

Commissioners raised issues with that plan, saying cars could stack up on the property while drivers wait for a chance to turn onto busy Newport.

Commissioners and city staff members also were concerned that traffic could back up onto Rochester during peak periods.

In an April 14 appeal to the city, project consultant Ed Hale wrote that “there is no supportable evidence or justification for the Planning Commission’s rejection of the proposed development.”

During the commission’s hearing on the project, Hale said the restaurant was designed so customers could quickly and efficiently enter and leave the property.

“We believe that the numbers, the hard data, support our proposal and alleviate the nebulous concerns that have been presented by the staff,” he said.

In the appeal, he added that the development “will provide substantial benefits to the city and community both in terms of the quality and character of the service provided, as well as jobs created.”

The property has been empty since Grant Boys closed in 2015.

Denying the project “would leave the current building vacant, deteriorating and subject to vandalism,” the appeal states.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

Lions Park

Council members also will consider awarding a $28.7-million construction contract to Lake Elsinore-based Tovey/Shultz Construction Inc. for projects at Lions Park.

The bid was the lowest the city received, though it came in about 4.6% higher than the city engineer’s estimate for the projects.

“This increase can be attributed to the competitive construction market,” a city staff report states.

Planned Lions Park projects include a new 22,860-square-foot library and demolishing the Neighborhood Community Center and converting the existing Donald Dungan Library branch to a community center to replace it.

Small lots

Also on Tuesday, council members will discuss the possibility of establishing a moratorium on projects processed under the city’s small-lot ordinance, which eases development standards for proposed developments of 15 or fewer detached homes in areas zoned for multifamily units.

Should the council decide to move forward with that, “staff would compile the background information, conduct appropriate research, including legal research, present options and prepare a draft moratorium ordinance to halt further small-lot projects,” according to a staff report.

The council is already scheduled to hold a study session with the Planning Commission on Sept. 12 to examine small-lot regulations.

luke.money@latimes.com

Twitter @LukeMMoney

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