First published in the April 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
A judge said last week he would not consider a number of allegations some Burbank residents brought in court against the city’s permitting of a Raising Cane’s location.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff’s decision, handed down April 11, was a major blow against an attempt from a group of residents trying to prohibit the opening of a Raising Cane’s, a popular fast-food chain.
He agreed with attorneys representing Raising Cane’s that the group, Save Rancho Providencia Neighborhood, had sued too late after city planning officials approved the restaurant’s building permit.
However, Beckloff also said Save Rancho Providencia Neighborhood could file an amended complaint by May 2.
Raising Cane’s officials have said the lawsuit has affected the opening of the Olive Avenue location, which was originally scheduled to open last year. Marice DePesquale, a community liaison for the restaurant, told the Leader in an email that the new opening date is sometime in June.
Some Rancho Providencia residents have expressed concern that the opening of Raising Cane’s — especially its often-packed drive-thru — will bring traffic, noise and trash in the neighborhood. However, City Council members noted last year that, because the eatery’s building site allows for restaurant use, Raising Cane’s has a right to construct a location on its property.
Though the restaurant’s construction finished months ago, it has remained vacant as legal proceedings continue.
Jamie Hall, an attorney representing the plaintiff, said in an email to the Leader that he would file an amended petition arguing that Raising Cane’s demolition of the previous building — a bank — required a conditional use permit. That process would have given Burbank’s planning officials more leeway to deny or adjust the project.
Hall added that his team may add other claims with its next filing.
Raising Cane’s and Burbank representatives have denied wrongdoing, arguing that the restaurant didn’t reach the demolition threshold that would have triggered a conditional-use permit requirement.
Raising Cane’s also successfully argued that the judge should not consider most of Save Rancho Providencia Neighborhood’s contentions that the city’s issuance of permits was improper. The plaintiff, Raising Cane’s attorneys said, filed a complaint more than 90 days after the city approved the building permit, exceeding the legal deadline.
Only Save Rancho Providencia Neighborhood’s allegations regarding the demolition remained, Beckloff noted in his ruling. But he agreed with the city’s representatives that the demolition was unrelated to the issuance of the building permit, instead focusing on the enforcement of that permit.
With the allegations in the petition stricken, Beckloff said the plaintiff could file an amended complaint, though he added it is “not entirely clear” how the group could work around the statute-of-limitations arguments.