City puts in order with McDonald’s

The proposal to build a McDonald’s on Main Street, north of Fourth Plain Boulevard, has not been well-received.

During a pre-application meeting this morning in a conference room at City Hall, myself and a half-dozen representatives from neighborhood associations (Hough, Arnada, Shumway and Carter Park) heard what the city is ordering from McDonald’s.

Um, yes, let’s see, I’d like a site plan review, a tree plan, a grading permit, a geotechnical/soils report, a preliminary stormwater report, a full traffic safety analysis/impact study — can I get four copies of that, please? — a street striping/lane configuration plan, preliminary civil plan, a Clark County Health Department development review evaluation and, OK, what else, um, a street lighting plan. For here.  

The plan is for a 4,300-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru and 35 parking spaces — more than double the city’s requirement of 17 parking spaces for a building that size.


Patti McEllrath, a city associate planner, said the McDonald’s is allowed outright in the community commercial zone. (Three abandoned buildings will be cleared for the McDs.)

Once McDonald’s fills the city’s order, the decision about whether to approve the project will be made by the planner, not the city council. As the city’s Overlord of Development, Chad Eiken, has explained in an email to the council, any appeal of the project would be heard by the City Hearing Examiner, with further appeal to Clark County Superior Court.

A third party, such as a neighborhood association, could appeal the project.

Today, neighborhood representatives were pleased to hear that McDonald’s has to do a full traffic study, a requirement the city makes based on the number of trips a project is anticipated to generate. Fast-food restaurants with a drive-thru are estimated to generate 900-plus trips daily.

The outcome of the traffic study could prompt additional requirements or modifications to the proposal. For example, right now the idea is to have no vehicle access from Fourth Plain Boulevard, right-turn-exit-only on Main Street and full access from E. 27th Street and from Broadway. But if the city feels there will be too much traffic backup, access from Broadway may be limited, McEllrath said.

Other than traffic, neighborhood representatives expressed concerns about noise, smell, litter and plans for the restaurant to be open 24 hours.

Clint Cameron, the Kirkland-based construction manager for McDonald’s USA Northwest Region, said the owner-operator hasn’t been decided yet, and the restaurant hours will be up to the owner. He said he’s willing to meet with neighbors, but it’s too early to discuss details such as whether the design would be modified to better fit in with the Uptown Village vibe.

“We want to work with the community,” Cameron said after the meeting.

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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