Two new drive-thru restaurants at the Long Beach Towne Center will have to wait at least another month before being approved, after the Planning Commission delayed voting on new El Pollo Loco and Raising Cane’s locations due to disputes over city requirements to install solar panels.
The commission pushed a potential vote to its Sept. 7 meeting Thursday night after representatives from both chains said they were surprised by the requirement to include solar panels in their designs.
Conditions of approval attached to both projects stipulate that the buildings either need to integrate solar power into their buildings’ design “to the extent feasible” or enroll in Southern California Edison’s Green Rate program to comply with the city’s Climate Action Plan goals.
Edison has paused enrollment in its Green Rate program for both residential and commercial accounts because “interest has exceeded capacity,” according to Edison’s website.
Representatives from both chains said they had planned to use the Green Rate program and that adding solar would likely put their projects over budget. The commission decided to postpone the vote to allow negotiations to continue between the city and the applicants ahead of its Sept. 7 meeting.
The project proposed building the two new restaurants on the final undeveloped parcel of land at the Long Beach Towne Center along Carson Street near the Sam’s Club gas station site.
A Planning Commission vote was required to split the parcel, which includes the Walmart, into two and to approve the designs of the proposed drive-thru features at both locations. Both drive-thrus showed double-lane layouts to help prevent their queues backing up into the parking lot of the site with a city staff report indicating that they could hold a combined 33 vehicles.
Both locations are proposing to operate from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.