Neighbors petition Clayton to allow Panera drive-thru

The parking lot on the left may soon be a restaurant with liquor sales, while the office building will soon be a Panera. (Photo from Google Maps)
The parking lot on the left may become a restaurant, while the office building was considered by Panera. (Photo from Google Maps)

At least 575 neighbors want Panera on Garland Road, complete with a drive-thru. That’s the number of people who have so far signed a change.org petition asking City Councilman Mark Clayton to reconsider his opposition to the project.

Zoning consultant Rob Reeves, who was working with the property owner to bring in Panera, says the deal is contingent on the fast-casual eatery building a drive-thru. Clayton has said his opposition stems from the Garland Road Vision, a document produced by neighbors in 2010 to help guide the flow of development, which suggests limiting drive-thrus in an effort to keep track moving. But even those behind the Vision seem to be in full support of Panera with a drive-thru where a medical offices currently stands (the owner also owns to parking lot across Beachview, which he plans to develop separately).

“As you know the existing has been vacant for quite some time and is an eyesore to the community. The applicant would like to use both sites for restaurant uses and [we] understand the applicant’s desire to have the flexibility to have drive-thru windows,” Brad Grist and John Olson, co-chairs of the Garland Road Vision committee, wrote in a July 2016 letter to Michael Jung, Clayton’s appointee on the city Plan Commission. “We respectfully request that you approve the applicant’s request.”

Other neighbors are less enthused with the idea of a Panera, pointing out that Jimmy John’s and Chick-fil-A are also opening on Garland this summer, leading to what some see as a proliferation of chains.

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The petition seeks to gain 1,000 signatures, just a small fraction of the number of neighbors who live in the general vicinity (nearby Little Forest Hills, for example, has a population of 4,200). It’s unclear whether it’ll be enough to make Clayton reconsider his stance on the development.


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  • Stejay Bee

    we need to do everything we can to make that stretch of garland walkable and bike friendly. I appreciate the effort to reduce the numbers of drive-thrus as much as possible.

  • Chris Matthews

    1. We both have our opinions. As a D9 resident for 20 years (I have lived in Lakewood, Casa Linda and currently Lochwood) I do not have contempt for Mr. Clayton, (I have much respect for anyone that holds an office in the community). I have just not seen a huge communication to the area as a whole. I don’t think I have been living under a rock..

    2. My point was about zoning in which he is saying he has control over but has not done anything to prevent the tire shops and auto body shops that continue to pop up north of Peavy road on Garland road, but a Panera is not okay. These continue to be a blight in the area and do not go in line with the Garland Road Vision. I do not know how that was hard to understand? (side note: I don’t personally like Panera, but it is a better addition than Greenville Tire and autobody on Lochowood and Garland or the many empty buildings near this intersection).

    My other point was that Mr. Clayton bragged about the funding of Casa View Shopping Center and his efforts that he put into it, but my question about White Rock Marketplace and what his goals were for that shopping center – His response was to the point “I only have control over zoning”. Which doesn’t really line up with what he said about Casa View. I understand that you were not there, that is why I brought it up, to let you understand my point about communication.

    3.You can disagree with my perspective on him, but I never questioned you on the information that you have to support your opinion, as you should not question me on my opinion. That’s why it is an opinion. And I although I might disagree with it, I do not condemn it.

    I do thank you for your response and again for your service to the City of Dallas and District 14.

  • Philip Kingston

    1. I like and respect Mary and Gary. My opinion is that Mark is substantially better. He is inarguably more independent.
    2. I wasn’t there for your communication, and I do not understand your point in relating it.
    3. I work with the guy. You can disagree with my perspective on him, but you can’t question whether I have enough information to support my opinion. I responded to criticism that I perceive as unwarranted and then got more criticism that, frankly, looks tendentious to me.

  • Chris Matthews

    Mr. Kingston, I have to argue with you on the first part of this statement. Yes Mr. Kadane was a horrible council person. But lets look back a little further Gary Griffin, Mary Poss.. Those are just to name a few. Both of these council members were very active in the area. While Mr. Clayton seems to be doing ok, as a person who has lived in District 9 for about 20 years, I have seen better communication and better transparency. I asked Mr. Clayton a very pointed question about the Garland Road development (after him saying his first priority when first elected was to help the Casa View Shopping center get rehabilitated) north of Peavy Road. He words were I can only deal with zoning. Which really didn’t answer the question. But it does bring up a point. If he can only deal with Zoning why then does he still allow tire shops, car mechanics and the like to go in if he is so worried about what Garland Road looks like?

    I have heard great things about you Mr. Kingston, many of my friends live in your district, and many have been on your campaign. I hope that you go far in your political career. But as a person who lives in D9, I feel that this is better left to our council person explaining and not another districts council person.

  • anneDallas

    I too find the letter highly suspect and for the same reasons.

  • plsiii

    I’m not sure where you get your “80%” but it doesn’t really matter… and you’re right it’s not about Panera, it’s about a drive thru and how there’s plenty already in the area.

    We should demand more vision for this stretch of garland road, time for meaningful development, let the Paneras of the world move on to locations already zoned for such activity.

  • Eastdallaser

    Everyone knows that Clayton is a Kingston puppet so it doesn’t surprise me that he is so active on this thread. Its not even about Panera anymore – its about an elected official crowning himself King and making decisions unilaterally with disregard for the people that elected him. It seems like roughly 80% of D9 wants the Panera so if it doesn’t happen just remember this when you go to vote next time.

  • Philip Kingston

    The allegation that it’s personal is offensive, false, and lacking evidence. Your claim of consensus support is similarly inaccurate. An SUP IS zoning. Nothing you claim he said is contradictory, and the long standing area plan disfavors drive through. This is starting to seem like an attempt to find fault with Mark for reasons unrelated to a proposed Panera.

  • Texasfashionista

    The reason he gave me was that it wasn’t zoned for a drive-thru and he didn’t want to approve a zoning change because it could never be revoked once it was done. I understood that perfectly. Now that it seems there is a special permit they can obtain and they’re willing to conceal the drive-thru etc, it doesn’t seem like he’s got a leg to stand on in regards to that reasoning so there must be something else to it. I happen to think it’s personal, as do others. He’s publicly said that he won’t be pushed around by developers and he told me that they’ve made him look like the bad guy from the beginning. I know that you take a “general consensus” approach running your district. That’s all we are wanting. There are far more people that want this than don’t and it feels like we are being ignored.

  • Philip Kingston

    Because drive-through is against the area plan? That’s what he said. That seems very transparent to me.

  • Texasfashionista

    I agree that Mark Clayton is a better representative than Sheffie. I respectfully disagree about his transparency. If the developer is willing to make concessions and the zoning is only valid to Panera, then the question still remains….what’s the issue? It’s a valid question in which nobody seems to be able to answer.

  • CitizenKane

    Reasonable. Thanks for the prompt response.

  • Philip Kingston

    My position is to support whatever Clayton and Jung come up with, which I know will always be what the neighbors want. If I have my urban planner hat on, I could say that drive-throughs suck, but it is not my job to impose my opinion on D9, and Mark would never stand for that anyway.

  • Philip Kingston

    He’s the best representative D9 has ever had. His Plan Commissioner Mike Jung is one of the smartest neighborhood advocates to ever serve the city. Mark makes great decisions, and is always completely transparent about his reasoning. I don’t think your criticisms are valid.

  • CitizenKane

    Councilman Kingston; what’s your position on this ? Do you support more drive thru restaurants along the Garland corridor?

  • anneDallas

    Yup, those two zoning changes happened during Sheffie Kadane’s term as our Council representative of District 9. (Kadane was Mark Clayton’s predecessor. )

  • CitizenKane

    Panera could start building tomorrow; but they are demanding a drive thru.

  • CitizenKane

    Did the City Plan Commission deny the SUP; or did it go to council with Commission support and was turned down at Council?

  • CitizenKane

    It should be noted that the SUP applicants and on-line petition organizers have used a letter by the Garland Road Vision committee as a rational for support. The letter of endorsement has been revoked by one of the two authors. The on-line petition is misleading signers in this respect.

    Here’s the letter in question.

    Who is Gloria Tarpley (Chairperson referenced in letter) and what is her position on this matter?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b61d018ea55d1dc5cf817f5bc6448bd4384e278622bf8b87510a39e576dbfd16.jpg

  • dormand

    More high quality casual family dining options are needed for outings at the Dallas
    Arboretum.

    Panera has outstanding healthy food. Another great option is Unleavened Fresh Kitchen in Lakewood, diagonally across from the old library building, which has fantastic and healthy food that is great for family outings.

  • Texasfashionista

    I’m sure what made the difference for the Chik-fil-a is that it is locally owned. I’m not sure how Panera is better suited for the freeway and Chik-fil-a isn’t? Or are we just drawing the line at Chik-fil-a? From here on out everything new must be a locally owned eatery or deemed fine dining? My issue is that Clayton said that he didn’t want to approve the zoning because in the event that Panera didn’t work out a Burger King could go in there. That was his main issue. Now it seems that the developer has agreed to a special zoning permit that would not allow any business after them to have a drive thru. In addition, they’ve agreed to conceal the drive thru with landscaping and have an outdoor patio with an arbor and bike racks. So what’s the problem? I can guarantee you that their drive thru won’t cause near as much traffic as Chik-fil-a. I believe Clayton also told them that they’d have to put a local sit down restaurant in the other lot? And I could be wrong, but I think the developer agreed to that? All this while he said to me in an email that he doesn’t control what businesses come in…just the zoning. Mmmhmmm Something stinks. And it would be nice if SOMEBODY would be honest about what’s really going on here.

  • anneDallas

    I was already familiar with the District 9 challenger before the debate, so I didn’t need to go. His reputation/ police reports preceded him. Ahem.

  • plsiii

    I could be wrong but have been told by multiple people that the Chick-fil-A and Carmel Carwash were done under the previous council person and possibly a different zoning situation… I’m trying to confirm this and will follow up if I found out otherwise.

    What’s done is done, but from here forward we can make this stretch of Garland road something more… more for immediate neighbors, more for not so immediate neighbors, more for visitors from all over… something to get out of the car for, a destination, something that compliments the lake and surrounding park land, not just another fast casual dining spot that’s better suited for the freeway.

  • anneDallas

    I was already familiar with Councilman Clayton’s challenger before the debate and thus felt no urgency to attend the debate. His reputation as district resident helpfully preceded him.
    o_O

  • anneDallas

    ***RECORD SCRATCH SOUND***

    “….. As one of the “Garland Road Vision committee members” named in this article, I can say that this is not information that I supplied. In fact, I have since withdrawn my support of this proposal after having had the chance to speak with Councilman Clayton and hearing the other side of the story. ”

    I’ve been following the endless Panera thread on Nextdoor (250+ posts in the thread), and this statement is a bit of a revelation.
    The Panera poll proponents have implied that GRV *supports* the drive-through.
    Clearly that is NOT the case.

    Thank you, sir, for clarifying a murky situation.

  • Txfashionista

    Well, were you at the “debate” to see his competition?!? His win was no surprise. :/

  • anneDallas

    I completely disagree that Councilman Clayton is nonresponsive to the needs of his district, and he just won reelection in May when he received 93% of the votes cast in District 9.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/68c0b34efdb033c4114fe31562933ed1e4b56b9b2586692313af6deb08ae250d.png

  • anneDallas

    Epically appropriate username, dude.

  • Txfashionista

    Mark Clayton specifically told me in an email that he doesn’t have anything to do with bringing certain businesses to our area…or not. He said he is only about the zoning. So, if that is true, how did Chick-fil-a not have a problem? How did the new car wash not have a problem? Why is Panera the only one having a problem? Because “they tried to make me look like the bad guy”. It’s so obvious that this has turned into a personal thing for him. He’s not truly representing what the majority of people want over here. I challenge him to post a poll on his fb page and leave it up for a week and make his decision based on that….what the people want. This isn’t about people badly wanting a Panera. This is about abuse of power and ignoring the people that put him in his position!

  • plsiii

    Thank you for the correction/clarification! Maybe we could revamp the GRV before revitalizing it.

  • EastDallasIsTheBestDallas

    As one of the “Garland Road Vision committee members” named in this article, I can say that this is not information that I supplied. In fact, I have since withdrawn my support of this proposal after having had the chance to speak with Councilman Clayton and hearing the other side of the story. Did you reach out to Councilman Clayton for comment? I know that I haven’t spoken publicly about this since I lent my support about a year ago. Since that time, my opinion has changed.

    On a side note, we (John Olson and myself) are not directly affiliated with the original Garland Road Vision. We serve as co-chairs on a sub-committee of the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce, with a focus on the Garland Road Vision. And, while this may seem like nuance, it bears noting that we were not part of the original conversations of the GRV, but have been tasked with trying to revitalize it as part of the GEDC’s Economic Growth & Development committee. I’m happy to speak to you directly about my position on this, or I can get you in touch with some of the original GRV founders.

  • The petition was started by a neighbor, and supported by at least three other Forest Hill/Little Forest Hills residents who emailed it to me, along with the Garland Road Vision committee who are also neighbors.

  • I LOVE MY GAS GUZZLING SUV

    How many people don’t want it? 18 or so?? 19 if you include Clayton? And BTW, what’s with Kingston? Such a divisive person!

  • Philip Kingston

    I would never challenge using Christ’s definition of “neighbor,” but this headline is a little misleading.

  • plsiii

    There is a drive-thru at chick-fil-a, it’s just on the backside…. as for the petition on Change.org, anyone can sign so the term “neighbors” should be considered loosely when counting the 575, which is now at 640. To be clear, people who sign the petition have to put in their zip code, name and email so it’s not completely anonymous, nevertheless I for one am not for any more drive-thru establishments on this stretch of Garland Road, we need to be thinking about encouraging foot traffic.

  • tom cat

    It will be interesting to see how Chic-fil-A does without a drive through.

  • FlyFisherGal

    Haha!! I figured! But for a split second, I was like HMMMM.

  • Ha! extra zero in there, thank you!

  • FlyFisherGal

    I can’t provide you with accurate numbers, but I’m pretty sure LFH doesn’t have a population of 22,000.