Council OKs new Taco Bell on Palmetto; vows to review neighbors’ complaints
By Dale M. King
BOCA RATON – The Boca Raton City Council gave guarded approval at its July 13 meeting to plans for a new Taco Bell fast-food restaurant on Palmetto Park Road, in the Palmetto Square Plaza.
One of them said residents are concerned about safety, additional traffic and noise. He said the area is already a traffic problem because of the so-called “Palmetto Pretzel,” a confusing array of streets.
He said those living in the area also fear that traffic will increase because cars may cut through their neighborhood from Camino Real to NW 12th Street.
Mayor Susan Whelchel urged city leaders to “make note of the issues involved” in the complaints from neighbors, but felt it’s “a little premature” to begin cracking down on the Mexican food restaurant.
Councilman Anthony Majhess agreed, saying that he lives in a “similar neighborhood” surrounded on three sides by a Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s. He urged the city staff to “look at the proposals” the neighbors recommended.
After some discussion, the council unanimously approved the application to locate a Taco Bell in the building that formerly housed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Planning and Zoning Director Julia Trevarthen said in a memo that the applicant will also get a technical deviation to allow for off-site circulation of traffic “in order to access five on-site parking spaces from an off-site (northern abutting) drive aisle.”
In 2003, the council approved a 4,600 square foot building for the Krispy Kreme with a single drive-through lane, and a 3,864 square foot corporate building which now houses a bank. The Krispy Kreme building was demolished in 2008, she said.
The new application calls for a 2,863 square foot Taco Bell with a drive-through.
Trevarthen said the nearby single family home neighborhood is buffered by a service road, 25-foot landscaped median, a right-of-way and an 80-foot wide easement for the Lake Worth Drainage District’s L-48 canal.
Neighbor Michael Jones said the service road “is already congested. Taco Bell is only going to add to that.”
He said that since the restaurant closes its inside dining area at 10 p.m., “the kids will park and party, and crank up the stereos.”
An official representing Taco Bell said the company has a policy of no loitering on site. Those who do will be asked to leave, and if they don’t, police will be called, he said.
He also said that most of the traffic using the restaurant will turn right onto Palmetto Park Road and head for the entrance to I-95.