Georgetown City Council voted 4–3 on May 22 to approve a special-use permit that would allow Hat Creek Burger Co. to build a restaurant with a drive-thru at 405 S. Austin Ave.
The vote came after more than two hours of discussion and presentations from city staff, the developer and citizens. Council members Patty Eason, Danny Meigs and Rachel Jonrowe were the dissenting votes.
The City Council chamber was filled with citizens wearing anti–drive-thru buttons waiting to speak against the special-use permits.
Opponents said the development could cause noise pollution, declining home values and traffic concerns.
“We think it violates the master plan and is completely inconsistent with Old Town,” resident Dan Solin said in an interview April 24. “It’s not just a significant impact, but a devastating impact on our townhomes.”
Solin owns a townhome at 406 Main St. next to the proposed Hat Creek location.
District 7 Councilman Tommy Gonzalez said any project at the site would generate traffic.
“Every business that opens downtown is going to impact parking on side streets and parking everywhere. We have a shortage of parking,” Gonzalez said. “When I look at some of the potential uses, it kind of scares me think that someone could line up the back of that property and put 15 parking spaces, and every time someone pulled out of those spaces they would be pulling into the driveway of those townhomes.”
Hat Creek owner Drew Gressett plans to build an approximately 3,000-square-foot restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating, a drive-thru and a children’s play area.
The restaurant could bring 250 cars per day to the property, about one-third of which would use the drive-thru, Gressett said.
“We want to have a Hat Creek in Georgetown, and we’re excited about the possibility of getting that done,” Gressett said. “The Georgetown Square is a fantastic place. Our concept is geared toward families, and we think that that property does a lot of providing a place for families to come down and enjoy downtown Georgetown.”
Acting City Attorney Bridget Chapman said the council did not need a super majority vote to approve the permit because Tamiro Plaza, which is located next to the proposed development, had withdrawn its protest.
The permit had been up for discussion at a previous council meeting but was pulled by Gressett after legal questions arose.