Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 35 / 28 August 2014
 

SF commission foils burrito chain’s Castro plans

New Chipotle mockupChipotle Mexican Grill has failed to convince San Francisco’s planning commission that it would be a good addition to the city’s gay Castro district.

The oversight body this evening (Thursday, June 20) voted 5-1 against allowing the Denver-based chain launched by former gay San Francisco chef Steve Ells to open at 2100 Market Street.

The former location of Home restaurant, the prominent corner at the intersection of Market, Church and 14th streets has been vacant since 2011. Chipotle’s announcement last summer that it planned to move into the space drew heated opposition and helped fuel calls for tighter controls on chain stores along Market Street.

With Starbucks’ plan to open up the block at another high-profile corner storefront, planning staff announced earlier this year they would oppose both companies’ permit applications. And working with neighborhood groups and gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the planning department adopted new rules governing formula retail along Market between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street.

Any chain store that would bring the amount of formula retail within a 300-foot radius to 20 percent or higher would automatically be recommended for disapproval by planning staff. Last month Starbucks found its proposed fourth Castro location at 2201 Market Street rejected by the planning staff and commission due to it triggering the 20 percent rule.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a front-page article today, the Seattle-based coffee chain decided not to appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.

As for Chipotle, planning staff calculated it would bring the percentage of formula retail to 36 percent, and thus, advised the planning commissioners to reject its permit request. Its fight to open in the Castro garnered the media’s attention, with front-page coverage in the SF Examiner and two segments on the local CBS affiliate.

After hearing public comment from both supporters and opponents of the burrito chain, the commission voted to follow the staff’s advice.

The company now has 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Supervisors.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 20, 2013 @ 6:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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