Development plans from the Eureka City Staff Report

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what about In-N-Out makes so many people claim its superiority over other fast food chains. Maybe it’s the intrigue of the “secret menu,” from which patrons can order their “animal style” fries. Whatever the reason, people went bananas when they heard that development plans for an In-N-Out had been filed with the City of Eureka earlier this month.

But there might be a roadblock in the development of this long-awaited restaurant: The City of Eureka has determined that this project necessitates the construction of a traffic signal on the corner of Vigo and Broadway. The Eureka City Council is set to decide on Tuesday whether or not they want to allocate a whopping $450,000 from the general fund for this project.

The project proposal was submitted by the Carrington Company, and includes plans for two buildings on the property at 2616 Broadway — one which would be the In-N-Out and another which is planned to hold four other businesses, not yet determined.  

Eureka Development Services Director Rob Holmlund told the Outpost today that the traffic analysis for this project determined that a traffic signal is absolutely necessary, per the City’s standards, and $450,000 is a pretty reasonable cost estimate, compared to the cost of previous traffic light installations. Sometimes, Holmlund said, the developers will cover costs like this themselves, though it hasn’t come up much before. “It’s not often that that a project triggers the need for a traffic signal,” he said.

The intersection of Vigo and Broadway, from Google street view

But according to the Eureka City Council agenda summary, “the developer has indicated that they cannot accommodate the cost of the traffic signal installation, which was not anticipated when the pro forma for the Project was being developed. As such, they have indicated that if they are required to fund the signal construction, the application for the project will be pulled and abandoned.”

Does this mean that the dreams of an In-N-Out will be smashed if the Council determines that they can’t spare the funds?

Vice President of the Carrington Company Gabe Hagemann told the Outpost if they were asked to cover the expense for a traffic signal that they would, indeed, have to abandon the project.”We don’t have the money in our budget,” he said.

But Hagemann seemed confident that the City would do what it takes to keep this project moving, which he sees as an all-around win for the community.

“It will absolutely be a catalyst for further development,” Hagemann said. “I think the city realizes that.”

City staff seems to agree, and they are recommending that the City Council approve the $450,000 for the project. Holmund said that this project is estimated to produce $60,000 a year in revenue for the city, which would make it well worth the cost of installing the traffic signal.

Plus, Homlund said that whether or not the In-N-Out project gets approved, installing the traffic signal could have other benefits for that section of Broadway, such as future development which would beautify the area and provide additional revenue for the city.

“You have to spend money to make money,” Homlund said.

This discussion is set for the Eureka City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Eureka City Hall 531 K Street.

You can view the full agenda here.