As soon as this May, the public may finally learn if, how and when the Taco Bell at 1734 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock is to be remodeled.
While it’s a sure bet that everyone wants to see the long vacant and increasingly decrepit Taco Bell spiffed up, it’s also safe to say that not everyone will be happy with the plan that emerges: Either the owner of the Taco Bell, Nader Ashoori, will have to meet conditions he would rather not have to meet, or The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), an improvement group, will not get the safety and cosmetic changes it wants to see in Mr. Ashoori’s proposal.
The latest chapter in the process began on Mar. 23, when the City Planning department approved Mr. Ashoori’s plan to remodel the exterior of the restaurant, including the installation of two awnings and three Taco Bell wall signs. In granting its approval, city planners said that Mr. Ashoori’s plan complied with all the applicable rules, standards and zoning requirements.
TERA disagreed with that conclusion and on Apr. 9 appealed the city’s approval decision. TERA wants to prohibit a tall Taco Bell pole sign and an off-site billboard next to the sign that are included in the proposal, on the grounds that the project’s extensive remodeling calls for stricter zoning rules than the city applied when it approved the project.
TERA has also objected that the proposal poses safety hazard for pedestrians using the sidewalk next to the drive-thru lane and has requested the creation of a “safety barrier” along the drive-thru lane. It has also asked for the elimination of one of project’s curb cuts to “minimize vehicular conflicts on the project site.”
This is the second time Mr. Ashoori has been challenged to go back to the drawing board. City planners already required him to modify his original plan to include better landscaping and a six-foot ‘buffering wall’ between the property and its south-side residential neighbor.
Mr. Ashoori, who owns 20 Taco Bells, told the Boulevard Sentinel that the process had gone on too long and that the TERA requests were too much. In particular, he said that taking down the pole sign would be bad for business and building a “three-foot wall” along the drive-thru lane was unreasonable.