Work begins in Thousand Oaks on a new Starbucks near single-family homes

Work has begun on a new Starbucks drive-thru at the same Thousand Oaks site where the developer’s previous plans to build a 7-Eleven and gas station were turned down by the city amid community opposition .

Grading of the empty lot at 2198 N. Moorpark Road is complete, city planning officer Steve Kearns said Friday.

The next step is for the developer, Megdal & Associates, to obtain a work permit from the city to begin construction on the site, which is near single-family homes and diagonally across from Thousand Oaks High School.

Before the permit can be issued, however, the developer must demonstrate that it has incorporated several modifications into its plans that were required by the city’s Planning Commission when it approved the project in January 2021, a- he declared.

Among the requirements is raising a noise and privacy wall from 6 feet to 8 feet high to address nearby residents’ concerns about noise from the cafe’s drive-thru.

thumbs down: Thousand Oaks Planning Commission denies 7-Eleven across from high school

Kearns said he did not want to speculate when the work permit was issued.

“It’s as fast as their architect can change their plans, resubmit them to us, and then we can check the plans and issue the permit,” he said. “After that, they can deploy their construction teams.”

It took a long time for Megdal & Associates to finally start developing the site.

The planning commissioners unanimously rejected in July 2019 the developer’s proposal to build the 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station there.

Prior to the commission’s vote, about 20 residents spoke out against the project, arguing that it was not suitable for their neighborhood.

“Our community is a nice, quiet residential community with a great high school in the middle,” one of the speakers, Robin Kaswick, told the commission.

The project “doesn’t improve our community,” she said. “It’s to the detriment of our community.”

Megdal & Associates appealed the commission’s refusal to the city council, but lost.

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The developer in 2020 submitted a new application to the city for the Starbucks. It went before the planning commission in January 2021.

The project “integrates well with the surrounding neighborhood and has been designed to minimize impacts to existing single-family residential uses,” a staff report said.

Even so, a number of locals spoke out against it, but not as many as at the 2019 hearing.

“I see this as a traffic and safety nightmare,” Amy Wilson told the commission. “It will definitely change the scope of my neighborhood.”

Developer Taylor Megdal said that after the 7-Eleven project was turned down, his team conducted a community outreach campaign in which many residents asked, “Why don’t you bring us a Starbucks?”

“So ironically we were able to get a Starbucks,” he said, but some locals still object.

“You can’t please everyone,” he added. “But I can’t tell you how proud I am of this proposal.”

The commission unanimously approved the new project.

“I like that there were a lot fewer complaints this time around from the community,” said Don Lanson, a commissioner who served as chair at the time. “I think a lot of people, even though they have concerns, see that as the best we can do in this place.”

Megdal could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Mike Harris covers the county towns of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as countywide transportation. You can contact him at [email protected] or 805-437-0323.

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