Mount Shasta planning commission approves Starbucks design, moves project forward

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald

After making a few suggestions and tweaks to its plans, the Mount Shasta Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved Starbucks' architectural design application, clearing the path for the corporation to plant roots in the city.

Starbucks is leasing the old KFC/Taco Bell building on West Lake Street and plans to renovate the inside and make improvements to the outside. During the meeting, building owner Darren Dickerhoof and Starbucks store development manager Amber Reed were on hand to address concerns previously raised by commissioners regarding the proposed building color, street trees, and potential traffic issues on Lake Street and in the Mt. Shasta Shopping Center.

A Starbucks cup sits on a table.

Starbucks will return to the planning commission to present a more detailed landscape plan. It's now allowed to begin the building permit application process.

Those who are opposed to Starbucks in Mount Shasta worry it will hurt local coffee joints and have other ideas for businesses they'd like to see in the building. But Mount Shasta City Planner Juliana Lucchesi said the city "is not able to pick and choose one franchise over another, or a business over another."

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Suzzanne Mendenhall, who owns The Coffee Brake roughly across W. Lake Street from the proposed Starbucks location, said today she's run out of options.

"The city’s mind is made up and Starbucks’s going in no matter what," she said. "So, I’ve decided I’m going to back off in my quest to stop them from coming in. Instead, I will gather up all my resources and positive energies and focus on what matters most ... which will be keeping my little business open."

Mendenhall said she has "a strategic battle plan in motion." She'll continue to use only Goodbean organic coffee and the best ingredients "and not give up."

She thanked the 1,500 people who signed a Change.org online petition and who wrote letters to the editor and the planning commission arguing against a Mount Shasta Starbucks for their support.

The old KFC/Taco Bell building drive through area was vandalized and will soon be renovated to become a Starbucks.

Building to get a facelift

Lucchesi said Starbucks tis planning a “full interior and exterior overhaul” of the building, which would include a new, wider drive-thru area for customers, ample warning for traffic via street lines and signs, a new garbage area that would be locked and contained, as well as changes to the sidewalk and city specified trees.

It has been sitting empty since late 2019, when Taco Bell/KFC closed its doors.

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A public concern was raised regarding the removal of city trees, and whether or not it was a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Lucchesi said the trees will be replaced, not removed, which does not qualify as a violation. She noted they're being replaced with a species that's approved by the city as part of an ongoing replacement project to abate nuisances caused by the liquid amber trees that are currently planted there. The trees, which were poplar years ago when they were first planted, have hardy roots which lift sidewalks and create tripping hazards.

Starbucks will remove, replace and fix the sidewalk. A few suggested species of trees include those in the maple family, as well as a Chinese pistache.

Mount Shasta Planning Commission meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month via Zoom, starting at 6 p.m.