Burger King plan denied by Planning Commission

The Pelham Planning Commission denied a plan to build a Burger King restaurant on a lot in front of the Mi-Pueblo supermarket shopping center during a Jan. 8 meeting. (File)

The Pelham Planning Commission denied a plan to build a Burger King restaurant on a lot in front of the Mi-Pueblo supermarket shopping center during a Jan. 8 meeting. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Burger King will not be coming to Pelham this year, at least not to the proposed location in front of Mi-Pueblo supermarket. The Planning Commission unanimously voted down a plan for the restaurant during a Jan. 8 meeting.

The Jan. 8 decision was continued from a July 10 meeting. The Planning Commission voted to continue the decision during the July 10 meeting due to numerous issues, both legal and structural, that needed to be addressed.

At the time of the Jan. 8 meeting, many issues still remained to be addressed.

“We’ve gotten this thing piecemeal,” Pelham Public Works Director Eddy Jowers said of the plans for the Burger King, noting water and sewer issues with the structure. “We haven’t had a complete set (of plans) to look at in a timely manner.”

In addition to water and sewer issues, construction of the Burger King on the proposed site also posed potential parking and access problems for businesses in the shopping center and adjacent lots.

“I’m not opposed to Burger King coming, but there are a lot of places they could build,” Mike McNorton, owner of Golden Rule BBQ said, noting the building would eliminate “prime parking” for his customers. “Shared parking is just not going to work… this right here is a business killer for me.”

Eric Hendon of the Hendon and Huckestein architectural firm, architect of the proposed Burger King building, defended the plan and explained neither parking nor access would be an issue in the proposed plan.

“Even though we are placing the Burger King, it does not block access to the Compass Bank or the Golden Rule,” Hendon said, adding that “even post development,” adequate parking would not be a problem.

The Planning Commission ultimately failed to approve the plan for the Burger King with a unanimous vote against it. Burger King will have to wait a year if it wishes to present another plan for the same location, Planning Commission officials confirmed.

“This is America and you have the right to develop where you can,” Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said, but he added the number of unresolved issues with the plan were a concern to him. “Each one of them separately represents a red flag to me… If I saw just one or two red flags, we could work with it, but I just see too many problems here.”