Signal Hill approves plans to open In-N-Out drive-thru

By CJ Dablo
Staff Writer

In-N-Out is closer to offering their famous “double-double” hamburgers to Signal Hill residents. The City’s councilmembers voted on Tuesday, Jan. 4 to issue a conditional use permit to allow operation of a new In-N-Out fast-food restaurant at the Signal Hill Gateway retail center.
“We are very, very excited about this one,” said Signal Hill Mayor Ed Wilson. “It’s been long and coming.”
The 24-hour restaurant will occupy about 3,654 sq. feet near the corner of Spring Street and Olive Avenue. The drive-thru will feature a queuing capacity of 13 cars, and the adjacent Home Depot parking lot will offer additional parking.
City documents estimate that the restaurant will generate approximately $25,000 to $30,000 in annual sales-tax revenue.
According to Scott Charney, director of the Community Development Department, construction of the facility should not take more than a year.
Throughout the evening, councilmembers emphasized the importance of redevelopment in the city. “This is the economic engine that has driven many, many cities to…bring in sales tax revenue,” said Vice Mayor Larry Forester during a Redevelopment Agency meeting, which followed the City Council session. “But more importantly to allow them to bring in business that brings in employees, and gives people jobs.”
Councilmembers acknowledged that the City’s focus on redevelopment has been crucial to the local economy.
“It’s the Redevelopment Agency that has helped us to provide the monies to turn blighted land into productive jobs,” said Councilmember Noll, who serves as vice chair to the Redevelopment Agency.
In other business, Councilmembers voted to adjust the budget to cover the cost of emergency repairs to a damaged pump in one of the City’s water wells.
“These are older wells in the city of Signal Hill,” said Interim Public Works Director Jim Davis. Sand and gravel was pulled into the well, he said, which damaged the filters and pumps. “And we had to close down the well till we could resolve the problem,” Davis said, indicating that Signal Hill had to purchase water through the Metropolitan Water District until the well was operational again.
According to City documents, the final cost to investigate the problem and make the necessary repairs is $95,600.
The City had initially authorized $60,000 for the project, but at Tuesday’s meeting an additional $35,600 was approved to cover the total cost. Another $60,000 was also approved to purchase equipment that would enable workers to vary the speed of the pump.
“Now the pump is back at operation,” Davis said. “We’re running it at a slower speed, and that is the reason why we requested the additional money to buy the electronic component to enable us to slow down the pump.” Davis added that slowing the pump is more cost effective.
“This is more efficient,” said Davis. “It will save money on power, and it will save wear and tear on pump equipment.”
Davis said that they might propose to purchase the device for another well owned by the City if the new equipment works sufficiently with the well that had been shut down for repair.
Mayor Wilson asked if they could determine how long these wells will last. “Wells are kind of tricky. You can imagine a thousand feet down, we really don’t know what’s happening all the time there,” said Davis. “We can base it on other people’s experience, our experience, and some good guesses how long it’s going to last.”
Davis said that the staff is looking at potential sites for future wells. Deputy City Manager Charlie Honeycutt indicated that he was creating a long-range plan to evaluate potential uses of recycled water in the city.
The city also authorized the city manager to enter into a three-year contract with a new vendor who will provide custodial maintenance beginning Jan. 26. According to the estimates provided by Davis and the Public Works department, the City will save $25,000 by using the new vendor, Great Cleaning Services Incorporated. The City’s next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 7pm.

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