Surprise planners pave way for In-N-Out Burger downtown

Land is pictured along Civic Center Drive near Bell Road Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 in Surprise. (Independent Newsmedia/ Jacob Stanek)
Land is pictured along Civic Center Drive near Bell Road Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 in Surprise. (Independent Newsmedia/ Jacob Stanek)

In-N-Out Burger is cleared to build its downtown Surprise location after the unanimous approval of the site plan Aug. 17 by the Surprise Planning and Zoning Commission.

After some contention in the Dec. 20, 2016 City Council meeting, the council approved the overall eight-acre Thompson Thrift plat which now includes In-N-Out — though development agreements with the popular burger chain and nearby Starbuck’s were not completed at the time.

The planning commission had few questions about the 1.6-acre site plan. In-N-Out will have 71 parking spots and enough queing distance for 20 cars.

“Pedestrian connectivity is very important to this project (as required by the PAD),” Surprise Planner Robert Kuhfuss said. “This has a very lengthy queing distance. City code requires 140 feet. This is 400 and is based on the business model that In-and-Out has. They do have that demand out there.”

Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s major concern with the parcel was three drive-thru restaurants including Raising Cane’s and the then-unnamed Starbuck’s and In-N-Out.

“This is our gateway to the city and this is a pretty important project that we’ve been anticipating for a long time,” Mayor Wolcott said on Dec. 20. ”The biggest concern I have, which councilor (Todd) Tande referred to, is along the majority of the entry points is actually a queue for fast food restaurants. But to squeeze three drive-thrus on one rather tight parcel of land is concerning to me for safety points and for those people who have to cross a drive-thru queue.”

In-N-Out will have a shared parking agreement with the restaurants brought in by Thompson Thrift, which are under construction now.

Its architectural design follows the Civic Center’s Mediterranean theme. Since December, the drive-thru queue was extended.

“I do have to commend the applicant. One of the things I noticed and very much appreciated was extending the drive through queing area from 140 too 400,” commissioner Eric Cultum said.

Three residents spoke about the project Aug. 17.

“I think this would be a good project for the city. It’s long overdue and I think it’s a good location with the university coming

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