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In-N-Out Blueprints Scrutinized at Design Review Meeting

Next step for chain's proposal at Novato's Vintage Oaks is a final Design Review Commission meeting in October.

In-N-Out Burger's proposal got through the city of Novato's Design Review Commission with minimal suggested changes, according to a story in the Marin Independent Journal, and the next step should be a formality.

However, the topic of traffic in the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center and the surrounding areas are expected could continue despite a possible rubber-stamping of the project at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Design Review Commission. Since there is no rezoning of the property use involved, In-N-Out should be able to proceed after that second meeting, the IJ reported.

In-N-Out proposes to demolish an existing Burger King and construct a new building at the same location, just east of Highway 101 with a clear view for highway drivers. The Design Review Commission only deals with architecture and other aesthetic elements of a project, traffic concerns would have to be brought up at a Novato City Council meeting.

Traffic at the restaurant itself isn't much of an issue. Senior planner Stephen Marshall said several members of the Design Review Commission commented that In-N-Out did a nice job of increasing the vehicle capacity of the drive-through area and accommodating on-site vehicle circulation. But concerns about backups on Rowland Way and Vintage Way and even the northbound offramp of Highway 101 at Rowland Boulevard have been brough up at past city meetings and in multiple Patch stories about the proposal.

If you're interested in the building's design, have a look at the attached staff reports prepared by the city's planning staff.

In-N-Out announced that it was targeting Novato for a new restaurant in April 2011. It pinpointed a spot in Ignacio, site of a garden center and adjacent oil changing shop, and presented its plan at a public workshop in August 2011. Neighbors in that area immediately spoke up about the noise, lighting and traffic that would cause problems at that location. Eric Lucan, then a candidate for Novato City Council (and eventually successful at winnng a seat) wrote an opinion piece for Novato Patch about the pros and cons of having In-N-Out at that location.

In May, In-N-Out backed out of that plan and said it would continue to look for a prime location in Novato. It settled on Vintage Oaks because the company prefers high-visibility locations and looks for “dynamic, high activity areas near retail mass, freeway locations, major intersections and commercial shopping center pads,” according to company literature. It also likes “easy ingress/egress, ability to use our 'classic' image.”

What are your thoughts about traffic in the area? Share a comment below.

Norma Dawson September 20, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I can't see traffic being a problem except maybe around the Holidays. I think we are going to loose a lot of Target traffic when the one in San Rafael opens.
JAN September 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM
In-N-Out will make a nice addition to Vintage Oaks. Plus, they will be bringing in entry level jobs to our community. They are a known quality product and have been around for a long time. I had my first hamburger from In-N-Out in 1959 in Pasadena. It was called a "Bubble Durger" back in the day. Now known as a Double-Double. I some times wonder about their religious views and the "John 3:16" on the bottom of their drink cups. John 3:16 is a classic piece of Christian scripture. Somewhere there is a hard core Christian running around in the home office but it doesn't seem to have had any adverse or discriminatory affect at the end of the day. They are a first class operation and we are lucky to have them coming to Novato.
LP September 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Vitage Oaks is large enough to accomidate the traffic associated with In-N-Out. I agree, at the holidays it gets congested, but what it brings to the community is worth more then the traffic. Plus, the cops will be able to issue more red light tickets to all those people who insist on turning right on red on the northbound off ramp.
HistoryLover September 23, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Thank you for your positive comments, and there are other Bible quotes on the bottom of the cups and paper trays. There staff is so well-trained and polite. They do an amazing job in serving you, the customer, with a cheerful smile and a fresh quality product. So I agree with you. Did not know about the Bubble Durger - how funny! However, I find your second paragraph really disturbing-- the part about having a Christian in the home office (surprisingly) not having an adverse or discriminatory effect. Why do you think so poorly of Christians? I think the Bible teaches tolerance, love and charity. Other religions (and non-religions) spew hate and terror. I prefer the positive.
JAN September 24, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Hello HistoryLover, I did 8 years of hard time in "Christian" schools in the 50's. The Christian philosophy in those days was harsh and that's being kind. TV was "sinful" believe it or not. The dance floor was the "Devil's Workshop." Holding hands with a girl was also considered immoral. Hence, you may see my exposure to Christian nuts came at an early age and insures a life time of caution. Our family is Episcopalian which has a much kinder spin on life and humanity. I meant no disrespect to the In-N-Out home office but am wary when one wears their religion on their sleeve, or cup.

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