Subscribe for 33¢ / day

A proposed expansion of the McDonald’s at 835 North H Street was approved by the Lompoc Planning Commission this week, but the $105,000 in fees the city is asking for final approval may slow, or even kill, the fast-food restaurant giant’s project.

“The whole remodel project is currently slated for $105,000 in fees before we even do anything,” said Pamela Macal, whose family has owned the Lompoc McDonald’s since buying it from Ray Kroc, the chain’s founder.

“The fees make the whole thing cost prohibitive,” Macal added.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 in support of the proposed 400-square-foot expansion plan, including an exterior and interior renovation, even as the commission’s members commiserated with representatives of McDonald’s over the fees.

The two fees in question — $35,000 in traffic mitigation fees, and requirements to install a $70,000 sprinkler system — were included as part of the project’s conditions of approval from the city.

“Seems like an awful lot to charge,” Planning Commissioner Frank Hain said.

“The expansion is actually for freezer storage, and will not generate any more traffic,” Mel Cruz, from McDonald’s corporate office, said during the Wednesday night hearing. He asked for the fee to be removed from the project’s conditions of approval. 

“What you are asking for, we can’t change,” Planning Commission Chairman Jack Rodenhi said after conferring with Planning Department staff.

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

Other departments, such as engineering, and the fire department’s building inspection division control those fees.

Rodenhi and planning staff recommended McDonald’s appeal those two specific fee requirements to the City Council, with the recommendation from Planning Commission that the fees be reconsidered.

The proposal from McDonald’s would add 431 square feet and slightly lengthen the distance between the drive-through windows. Parking and setback requirements all would remain within Lompoc’s requirements, according to the city staff report.

The expansion includes new furniture, paint and art for the interior. An external renovation is also included, replacing some of the restaurant’s facade, though Macal said the north-facing astronaut mural would remain.  

“We’re just trying to improve the look of the restaurant,” Macal said.