Beaverton residents concerned after meeting with In-N-Out
After a community meeting with In-N-Out Burger, some Beaverton residents have concerns with the burger chain's impact on future traffic.
Travis Chesney, who lives near the proposed restaurant site at 10565 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, says he has tried to talk to In-N-Out representatives about potential traffic concerns the restaurant could bring to the neighborhood.
Chesney has attended both community meetings that In-N-Out has put together — one on Dec. 28, 2020 that was attended by more than 100 participants, and another on May 20. He says he has submitted questions and has emailed representatives about traffic and safety concerns he has over the potential development.
However, those questions and emails have gone unanswered, he said.
"It's upsetting," said Chesney. "They lead their presentation with all of this charity work they do, and it's really upsetting to me because they're not connecting with us — the community — that are going to be heavily impacted the most."
Chesney isn't the only resident with concerns.
Earlier this year, The Times spoke with a Beaverton resident who said she isn't convinced that the restaurant's plan would control traffic on the highway and the surrounding streets.
In-N-Out's past community meetings usually discuss details about the drive-thru restaurant, address concerns from the public and offer an email people can reference with any further questions.
Chesney added that he knows that there will be a deeper traffic analysis in the future with the restaurant, but he wishes In-N-Out representatives would address his concerns about how the restaurant would impact his neighborhood.
"They're getting 145 visits at peak times, and that's with a brand-new In-N-Out, the first one in this metropolitan area," Chesney said, referring to the In-N-Out store at Keizer Station that opened in December 2019. "People were already driving down to Keizer on a regular basis from Portland, so we're going to get absolutely slammed by people, and I'm not thrilled about it."
In a community meeting last year with In-N-Out, a spokesperson for the chain addressed the long lines at the Keizer In-N-Out Burger, saying that businesses in the complex haven't been blocked and the coronavirus pandemic has forced more drivers to use the drive-thru lanes.
Pamplin Media Group also reached out to In-N-Out for comment regarding Chesney's concerns.
"We have now held two neighborhood meetings, which is the first step in (Washington) County's land use process," said Carl Arena, vice president of real estate and development for In-N-Out Burger. "All attendees at these meetings were provided an email address to send their questions/comments specifically related to our project and advised that their comments would be compiled and sent to the county as official public comments."
He added, "Being a good neighbor is very important to us at In-N-Out, both at our current locations as well as at prospective restaurant sites. Throughout the planning process, our intent is (to) be sure that any concerns are satisfied, and to make any necessary adjustments in the hope that our business is nothing but a positive presence in the community."
At this time, Washington County has not yet received a formal development application from In-N-Out Burger.
The restaurant has participated in a pre-application conference and conducted neighborhood meetings, both of which occur before applications are submitted to Washington County.
"A traffic analysis will be required as part of a development application, and it will be reviewed by both Washington County and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) staff because Beaverton-Hilldale Highway is an ODOT facility," said Melissa De Lyser, a county spokesperson. "There will be an opportunity for the public to submit comments to county staff after In-N-Out submits a development application and before the county renders a decision on the application."
County officials have not determined when the comment period will start.
Chesney says if the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation were to install speed bumps in the area, it would at least help to set his mind at ease, considering how heavy traffic already is for the nearby Target and Chik-fil-A.
"I'm not opposed to In-N-Out and businesses coming in, if all of the issues are addressed," Chesney said. "However, I don't think it's possible for them to address every issue. So, they have lots of other locations that they're considering in Tualatin and other areas, and I hope that they will consider those areas first — areas that will have a lesser impact on local residents and their safety concerns."
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