By J.J. Smith. Many of us have heard celebrities in California talk about how much they love In-N-Out Burgers.
Soon we’ll have a chance to taste them ourselves in Rockwall.
At the Rockwall City Council meeting Monday night, the burger chain’s DFW-area architect and project manager announced that Rockwall will be among the “first wave” of “many” In-N-Out locations which will begin opening next year across the DFW Metroplex.
Architect Brian Fetz, of Gerdes, Henrichson & Associates, appeared before the council to request a variance to the roof design standards of the I-30 Overlay district, in conjunction with a site plan for a 3,750 square-foot drive-thru restaurant which will be located just west of Toyota of Rockwall. The vote was 6-0 in favor with very little discussion.
Obtaining a height variance for an I-30 freeway pole sign over the standard 40 feet was definitely another matter, however.
For 35 minutes Council members discussed and then argued whether the In-N-Out location really needed a 60-foot freeway pole sign, as proposed by Fetz and project manager Mark Noack.
It was voted down, 4-2, because five of the present six members needed to support such a variance. Council members Glen Farris and Margo Nielsen voted against it. Matt Scott was unable to attend.
But in the end, it was Farris who budged from his 48-foot maximum limit and proposed a 50-foot tall sign, which all six members did agreed to.
A somewhat disappointed Noack told Council members that will work from the westbound side but eastbound drivers would not be able to see it.
He had told the Council that, at a cost of $25,000 for every ten feet of pole, the burger chain would not have asked for the variance unless they really believed the 60-foot pole sign was needed.
The discussion turned to an argument due to a short but heated exchange between Mayor Bill Cecil and Glen Farris.
As Farris seemed to be finishing his comments to the In-N-Out team, the Mayor said “You’ve made your point, Mr. Farris.” With his face red, Farris exclaimed, “Yes, I have made my point, Bill! And I will make my point!”
Then, after Farris abruptly stood up and walked out of the meeting, the Mayor called a five minute recess.
One council member said it appeared that Farris became upset because he felt the Mayor had unfairly interrupted him.
As part of the discussion, Council member David Sweet reminded his fellow Council members that they should be encouraging businesses to come to Rockwall by giving them what they need – generally-speaking.
“We have a businessman in front of us telling us what he needs to be successful in Rockwall,” he said. “Do we really want to send him away without helping him?”
Construction will begin soon but no schedule was announced.