San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor In-N-Out Burgers in San Carlos: Is it a Done Deal? | The White Oaks Blog

In-N-Out Burgers in San Carlos: Is it a Done Deal?

by Chuck Gillooley

Not Everyone Is On Board.

There was quite a buzz around San Carlos when news first broke that In-N-Out Burgers was planning to open up a restaurant right here in our city.  In-N-Out Burgers has a cult-like following in Northern California, obviously because people like the food.  But a big part of their success lies in the fact that they aren’t an omnipresent chain like McDonalds or Starbucks.   They play the supply-and-demand game like a fiddle.  Consequently, when they pick a location to open a new restaurant it’s pretty big news — especially for a cash-strapped city like San Carlos.

But not all of the buzz about In-N-Out coming to San Carlos has been positive.   Residents in close proximity to the proposed site are worried about the effects of increased traffic to an already overloaded intersection at Holly and Industrial.  Others have publicly questions whether selling the land outright to In-N-Out as opposed to leasing it was the best choice for a cash-strapped city.  Regardless of where you stand on these issues, the point is clear — not everyone is on board with this plan.   Which leads to the following question:

Is This a Done Deal?

Right now the land sale to In-N-Out is in the final stages of closing.  But it’s important to note that closing this deal is conditional on In-N-Out being able to secure the necessary permits from the San Carlos Building and Planning Commissions.  In addition, this project may be approved or rejected by these Commissions, as well as the City Council, depending on the amount and relevance of public opposition.   So it goes without saying that a few eyebrows were raised when there was a discussion at the Jan 11th City Council Meeting on possible ways to spend the proceeds of the land sale.   Some residents were a bit miffed by what came across as City Hall acting like the deal was already done.

So…What Do You Think?

Some time has passed since the initial news broke.  What are your thoughts now on In-N-Out coming to San Carlos?   Is it a good fit for San Carlos?  Or will it create more problems than it’s worth?  As I mentioned above, public opinion will have an impact on the approval process.  So let everyone know what you think by leaving a comment, and by voting in the following poll — I’m told that this blog occasionally makes the rounds in the Council Chambers, so your comments will indeed be seen:

Are You in Favor of In-N-Out Burgers Opening a Restaurant in San Carlos?

View Results

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Comments 14
  • I love In N Out, but seriously… Holly and Industrial? Isn’t that the intersection that gets backed up every night already?

    And it’s totally ridiculous to sell land instead of leasing it. Sometimes this town is so shortsighted. We’re paying dearly now for stupid decisions made re Prop 13. I bet one day we’ll look back and wonder how we could be so stupid as to sell our land.

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    • Shortsighted? Nah…not this town. I mean, everyone still thinks that selling off San Carlos High School was a great idea, right? 😉

      Take a look at Burton Park — The Kiwanis Building has been shuttered for over a year, and now the Youth Center will likely be locked up for 10 months out of the year Burton Park will be nothing more than an oversized playground. I’m sure someone will start making suggestions on how to sell off part of this land to raise money too. Don’t be surprised…

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      • Actually the San Carlos City Council at the time (Pat Bennie, John Buchanan, Sally Mitchell, Craig Shannon, Vic Stoltz) strongly opposed the sale of San Carlos High School in the mid 1980’s. And they subsequently negotiated a deal after the district’s sale of the site to get both the Sequoia High School District and the developer of the homes on that property (Paul Peterson of Whitecliff Homes) to give the City more of the high school sports fields land than was originally proposed. And that’s how the Highlands Fields were born.

        The bottom line back then was the Sequoia High School Board of Directors thought they would make more money/get more housing units if they closed San Carlos High than Carlmont where they would have had to deal with the Belmont City Council.

        After the ruckus the San Carlos Council at the time raised, one Sequoia board member questioned whether they had gone the right way on that land sale decision.

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    • Not only are they selling a piece of land that will appreciate faster than any other in town as the hospital and hotel are developed, they’re not going to use the money (the half that is left after all the fees) to help with the budget crisis. They’re going to either invest it, where it will earn less than the appreciation, or they’re going to buy another piece of land that won’t appreciate as fast.

      I believe the technical term for this is a cockamamie idea.

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  • Surprised by the results here. So with an uptick in crime (25%) an overwhelming majority is favoring an in n out? Has this site been invaded by trigger happy 16 year olds?

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  • I think it’s interesting that the readers of the White Oaks Blog favor the deal by 81%. I own a house that’s ~100 yards from the site and I have another poll for you: Would you want to live ~100 yards from an In N Out? Seriously: If you live in White Oaks, please email me. I would love to know the answer. freudejk@aol.com

    Please indicate whether you voted for the deal in the above poll and whether you would vote “Yes” in my poll here.

    If I get any responses, I’ll post them here.

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  • I notice that the 254 people who think this is a good idea haven’t posted comments. Maybe they haven’t given much thought to the placement of the In-n-Out and would just like to have one in SC.

    There is an ideal location for In-n-Out at the NE corner of Brittan and Industrial where it will not increase the worst traffic in SC to above 100% of capacity and won’t be within 120 feet of the nearest residence (according to Dir Pub Works, Robert Weil).

    They have room for 17 cars in the drive-through lane and admit that it probably won’t be enough, so there will be at least 17 cars belching pollution into the back yards of the homes across the street. The stalled traffic on Holly also means more pollution.in the same neighborhood.

    Imagine how it would be to live that close to the smell of hamburgers and fries EVERY DAY! And imagine the noise factor between 12 and 1:00 am when people are making their last trip to In-in-Out. These are not little old ladies, these are younger people, who tend to have noisier cars and generally create more noise. Perfect for Brittan and Industrial; completely inappropriate for Holly and Industrial.

    This is the Gateway to our city, a “heritage site” set aside for an exceptionally attractive use. Is In-n-Out the image you want for San Carlos? Do you want to be the city with the huge red and yellow sign on top of a 65′ pole?

    What will this do to our ability to attract a luxury hotel for the heritage site across the street? Will they want to build a luxury hotel where the first five floors in the front of the building look out on the huge sign, which I assume will be lighted until at least 1:00 am?

    How many residences will be forced to put up black-out shades in order to deal with the lights?

    Let’s put this thing where it belongs, in an area where it will have more business at lunch time, when they say they do most of their business, and won’t disturb the neighbors.

    Maybe we can do a mock up of 100 cars all gathered in one place at midnight on a Saturday in various neighborhoods around town and see how they like it.

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    • It’s hardly a heritage sight. Just look at the two gas stations on the NW and SW corners of the intersection. That’s our gateway to the city. As cold hearted as this may seem to the residents of Holly between Industrial and Old County Road, a long term fix would be the purchase of all of the homes on this stretch through an eminent domain action to be followed by a widening of the street and a rezoning to commercial and/or mixed space uses.

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  • So what’s going on with this? There’s an In’n’Out going up in Redwood City, which presumably means San Carlos is not getting one. Is that right?

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    • No, actually both towns are slated to get an In ‘N Out. It’s just that the Redwood City location is further along in the process than San Carlos. If San Carlos doesn’t get an In N Out, it will likely be because of neighborhood opposition, not because the two locations are so close to each other.

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      • There is one other thing that might stop In-n-Out. Scot Marsters was on the GPAC and is now on the Planning Commission. There’s always the possibility that the Planning Commission will actually look at all the ways that this project is in conflict with the General Plan and not approve it.

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    • AJ,

      Here’s an update that just came out this evening on the plans for the San Carlos In N Out Restaurant

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      • I think the one in RWC is open already. My comments were made verbally to the Planning Commission, not written. I also said the technical term for this kind of proposal is “cockamamie idea.”

        According to Robert Weil, the traffic problems on Holly, which will go from 100% of capacity to 104% during the middle of the day. Robert has said that block of Holly is the choke point and that it really can’t be fixed for any reasonable amount of money.

        And remember, the council has already said that any profit from thid will not be used to help solve the city’s budget problems. It will either be put ito savings or used to buy another piece of property.

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    • From your keyboard to God’s ears! Unfortunately, that makes sense, which means it’s not likely to happen. This is a project between a big corporation and government, so common sense won’t enter into the decision-making process.

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