BY JENNY SHEARER, Californian staff writer e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A proposed shopping center in southwest Bakersfield will return to the Bakersfield Planning Commission tonight.
Mustang Square would have a fresh & easy market, a Walgreens, fast-food restaurants, a Cruz Thru car wash and a Starbucks with drive-through service. The center would be at White Lane and Buena Vista Road. It’s across the street from Stockdale High School. Tom Carosella is the developer.
But some residents say the center will create more problems.
“We just don’t feel it fits with the neighborhood at all,” said Doris Campa. She lives in Seven Oaks, and her son is a junior at Stockdale. She said traffic around the school is bad, with gridlock at White Lane and Buena Vista Road several times a day.
In an e-mail to commissioners, residents Jaclyn and Rudy Hernandez said there are plenty of nearby retail options.
“With this project, White Lane and Buena Vista will then mirror Coffee Road,” they said.
Mustang Square wouldn’t be the only commercial site at Buena Vista and White Lane. Castle & Cooke has approval to develop a shopping center on the intersection’s southwest corner. Bill Sampson, senior vice president for commercial properties, said the company would focus on finding tenants for the nearly 8-acre site in 2008.
Thursday marks Mustang Square’s second hearing. It was first considered Oct. 18 but postponed after audience members and commissioners raised concerns about the project’s effects on the neighborhood.
At Thursday’s meeting, statements in support or against the center may be given during the public comment segment. Neither the public nor Carosella will have the chance to make additional presentations because commissioners already heard from both at the October meeting. But commissioners may ask Carosella questions during their deliberations.
Carosella said Wednesday that there’s a need for shopping in the area. He envisions parents who drop off their teenagers at Stockdale stopping at Mustang Square to do their shopping.
He thinks residents will “really enjoy the amenities we’re going to be putting on that corner.”
Regarding traffic, Carosella said a turn signal would be installed on Buena Vista to access the center.
After meeting with city planning staff, Carosella agreed that only two restaurants, not three, would have drive-through service. One of those businesses may be a Starbucks. Although alcohol would be sold at the center, on-site consumption would not be permitted without a conditional-use permit.
“Each permit would be scrutinized,” Carosella said.
The city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment grants those permits, and they can be rescinded if problems arise, said Jim Eggert, the city’s assistant planning director.
Other recommended conditions include prohibiting amplified outdoor sound. Only speakers used for drive-through businesses would be allowed.
Planning staff suggested deliveries happen between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., rather than starting at 5 a.m.
How to Go
The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 1501 Truxtun Ave.
You can watch the meeting live on KGOV, the local government television station that also broadcasts meetings over the Internet.
The agenda is available at www.bakersfieldcity.us under the Development Services Department link.