Calabasas : Official Opposes Plan for Eatery, Car Center

Calabasas' top planning official said Friday he's recommending that the city reject a joint application for a Burger King restaurant and auto service center on Las Virgenes Road.

Community Development Director Steve Harris said developer Frank Niesner failed to ease his concerns about signage and potential traffic problems. The Planning Commission will vote on the application at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 26135 Mureau Road.

Niesner wants to build a 2,654-square-foot restaurant and a 1,560-square-foot auto service center at 4929 Las Virgenes Road. The auto center, called Oil 'N' Lube, would be operated by a Niesner associate, Bill Haugh of Simi Valley.

Niesner wanted to install a 30-foot-high freeway sign above the restaurant, but the city, which is trying to do away with freeway signs, rejected the proposal. Harris said Niesner then proposed hanging signs on two 30-foot towers that would be part of the building. Harris said the city can't accept that because the building wouldn't look right. Niesner was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment, but Haugh said it was the city that suggested the restaurant's sign be hung on side of the building. "Now they are saying that it doesn't look right," Haugh said.

Officials said they fear that vehicles entering and leaving the establishments would create a traffic hazard on Las Virgenes Road, which already has heavy traffic. A traffic light would help reduce the hazard, Harris said, but Niesner--who would be required to help pay for installation--rejected the idea.

Haugh said it wouldn't be economically feasible to install a traffic light because that would cost them about $250,000, while the entire project would cost $500,000.

However, Haugh said he and Niesner would be willing to abandon the idea of the auto service center to ease the traffic problem.

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