TORRANCE : Council Rejects Plan to Build McDonald's

Concerns about traffic congestion and safety led the Torrance City Council to reject a plan to build a McDonald's restaurant on a busy Torrance street.

McDonald's officials said they were surprised at Tuesday's council decision but said they will just look for other sites in the area.

"McDonald's strives to be an asset in each community we serve," company spokesman Ron Street said.

Residents who lived near the site at Crenshaw Boulevard and 236th Street worried that a fast-food restaurant would increase crime, traffic, noise and pollution in their neighborhood. The proposed building's 2,200-square-foot floor plan was only half the size of some of the company's restaurants, but residents feared that cars waiting for the drive-through window would back up onto Crenshaw.

"I think there are some inherent problems with this particular site by virtue of the heavy traffic on Crenshaw," said Councilman George Nakano.

The council voted unanimously to prohibit construction of the McDonald's. Both the Planning Department and the city's Planning Commission had recommended approval of the project, but on Aug. 8 an appeal was filed to ask the council to make the final decision.

Because neighbors complained about the original plan to allow traffic from side streets to enter the restaurant parking lot, McDonald's changed the design to allow access only from Crenshaw Boulevard. But members of the council still believed the plan had flaws.

"I look at what they've come up with, and there isn't a way . . . to get out of that facility and safely go north," said Councilman Dan Walker. "I think what they should have is a larger lot and a larger facility."

Both residents and McDonald's officials said they would like to see one of the company's restaurants built on a larger site somewhere in the neighborhood.

"I love McDonald's; I just don't want to see a drive-through go right there," said Kathy Boedeker, who lives on West 237th Street.

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