Dozens of residents were out protesting the proposed location for a new In-N-Out in Rancho Mirage.
Picketers were on the corner of Magnesia Falls and Highway 111, in front of the shopping center where the restaurant would be located. The city’s planning commission approved the new location on Sept. 13.
The picketers voiced their concerns over the new In-N-Out’s location.
“I’m extremely concerned about the traffic gridlock and the fact that fast food does not belong in this community,” said Maggie Lockridge, a picketer and Rancho Mirage resident.
The city’s current ordinance prohibits fast-food restaurants in areas such as the proposed location. In-N-Out is working with the planning commission on a conditional use permit that would change the ordinance.
“Rancho Mirage has a certain reputation, I bought here because of that reputation and it doesn’t include fast food. It doesn’t represent our persona,” Lockridge added.
Some of the signs picketers held read, “Keep Rancho Mirage ‘Playground of the Presidents’ not ‘Gridlock for Restaurants.'” The city is known for having hosted several U.S. Presidents.
Traffic is one of the major concerns for many residents against the popular fast-food restaurant.
“We’ve been told by In-N-Out burger that there will be 1500+ cars through a day and the average number of cars in lane for an In-N-Out burger is 26. It’s going to make a gridlock of this shopping center,” Lockridge said.
According to the planning commission’s staff report, the drive-thru lane will hold up to 23 vehicles and is designed in a way to prevent waiting vehicles from affecting traffic in nearby streets. It’s noted that if the drive-thru does affect traffic in the area, the developer will work to address those issues with measures used at other In-N-Outs. This would include having employees outside taking orders or placing cones for better traffic circulation.
If this does not work, the city notes that the developer will continue to work officials for a better solution.
The planning commission’s traffic count determined that traffic in the intersections near the restaurant will not be significantly impacted during peak PM hours. Traffic counts for the area were conducted in August, according to city documents.
Picketers will be out again in the same area Wednesday afternoon. The Rancho Mirage City Council is expected to further discuss this topic during their meeting this Thursday.
Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.