A decision on whether to issue a permit for the construction of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant at the northeast corner of Mono Way and Fir Drive in Sonora was delayed by the Tuolumne County Planning Commission to address concerns about traffic safety, according to officials.

The commission voted Wednesday night to postpone the public hearing until the developer of the proposed project conducts a study on the potential traffic impacts to Fir Drive and at the intersection of Mono Way, said Renee Hendry, a level-two planner in the county Community Resources Agency.

“After some discussion, the commission decided to send the project back to staff,” she said.

Several residents who live off Fir Drive reportedly attended the meeting and expressed concerns related to increased traffic that the restaurant would generate on their residential street.

Some also talked about potential noise from people ordering at the proposed drive-thru window and trash from customers.

Hendry said the commission ultimately felt it would be appropriate for county staff to work with the applicant, Chico-based architect Gary Hawkins, on studying the potential impacts on Fir Drive and at the intersection from delivery trucks that would supply the proposed business.

“Basically, they’ll study how trucks will enter and exit their site,” she said. “The study should also determine the maximum length truck that will make deliveries to their site.”

Hawkins did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Thursday.

A traffic study was not conducted prior to the hearing because the county engineering division under the Community Resources Agency determined that the estimated 413 vehicle trips per day that would be generated by the restaurant was not enough to require a study.

The county requires a traffic study to be conducted if a project is anticipated to generate more than 500 vehicle trips per day.

Hendry said the county will provide a list of qualified traffic consultants to conduct the study. She added that Duke York, deputy director of roads, will advise them on the requirements of the study.

The study could be completed in about two weeks, Hendry said. She anticipated the project could go back to the commission for possible approval by late November, or sometime in December.

Suknjit Sangha, the owner of the one-acre site, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. The parcel is zoned for commercial uses and lies kitty-corner to the existing McDonald’s restaurant.

Hendry said the commission didn’t impose any other requirements in response to the concerns related to noise because studies have already determined that the sound of vehicles traveling along Mono Way is louder than what the restaurant would generate.

The restaurant also plans to have employees go outside to pick up trash every hour and would pick up any trash that makes it outside of the parking lot when reported, she said.

This would be the second Wendy’s to operate in the county if approved. A previous one closed down decades ago where the Burger King restaurant is now located at 13796 Mono Way in East Sonora, according to many longtime residents.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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