New Starbucks, McDonald's Coming to Town

The Planning Commission will review applications this Thursday, 7 p.m. at City Hall.


The city's planning and building department is recommending the approval by Planning Commission Thursday of a new Starbucks, slated for the mostly vacant parcel on the corner of Commerce Boulevard and Rohnert Park Expressway — in between Jack in the Box and Black Bear Restaurant.

The 17,000 square foot store will replace a shuttered Wendy's, according to a staff report. 

"This paved site in the Sonoma Gateway Center has been vacant for several years and distracts visually from the appearance of the shopping center from Commerce Boulevard," said Marilyn Ponton, the city's planning and building manager. "This proposal will be an attractive addition to the area."

If approved Thursday, that'll bring the number of mega coffeeshop-chains in Rohnert Park to six. There's also one in Cotati near Oliver's. Ponton's report detailed the plans for the new Starbucks — which no doubt will attract business from the sea of drivers in the morning and evening commute times.

New facade improvements are planned for the building, more parking (28 spaces), a drive-thru (to absorb up to 10 cars at a time), bike parking and new landscaping (one tree for every four parking spaces), a three-foot high screen planting around the perimeter of decorative trees and outside seating.

The plan is exempt from a California Environmental Quality Act analysis.

Starbucks is estimating serving about 70 cars per hour in the drive-thru alone, and employing six people at a time.


The addition of the giant burger chain will also go before Planning Commission Thursday night. As part of the Wildred-Dowdell Specific Plan, planning and building staff are recommending the approval of a McDonald's and Oxford Inn and Suites in the area dubbed "Village North," at Redwood and Golf Course drives.

The site is nearly five acres, more than 100,000 square feet and will have parking for 193 cars and two RVs.

The Wilfred/Dowdell Specific Plan was approved by the City Council in September 2008. It covers nearly 25 acres of new development, including a five-story, 163-room hotel and McDonald's.

We'll bring you full details after Thursday's Planning Commission. In the meantime, weigh in on what you think of the new projects! Leave your comments below or send an email to angela.hart@patch.com.

Wendy April 25, 2012 at 01:47 PM
another starbucks? there are two just kitty corner from that location and two more down the street inside target and outside target! What was the planning commission thinking....almost as stupid as putting a Hooters in a congested area - now I see the Hooter girls out on the street playing hula hoops - causing distracted driving....
John Pecoraro April 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Oh well, it's better than nothing I guess. It seems RP has enough fast food and coffee places --- why more?
Doug Strickland April 25, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Why? Mmmm the sweet smell of tax revenue. That's why Rohnert Park does pretty much anything lately.
Angela Hart April 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Thanks for your comments, readers! Full update coming after tomorrow night's planning commission. Stay tuned!
Shirley Patton April 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I think Rohnert Park should open a Cyber Cafe` in every shopping center in town....just like the one on the West-Side on Redwood Dr. across the street from IHOP...Must be a really nice place it seems to be very busy....Heck even public safety seems to be there a lot!.....
Patricia Siebert April 25, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Who decided we need another Starbucks? Are they crazy! We have so many coffee shops here already. What will happen to the one next to Safeway? We certainly do not need another McDonalds either. Rohnert Park is doing the same thing it always does. Just putting chains here. How boring. Wake up city council! We've been having a snooze fest here for years.
Emely Hernandez April 25, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I do not believe we need to aid in the poor health habits causing obesity and other detrimental chronic health problems in our community. Please review the goals of Sonoma County's Food Assessment: http://aginnovations.org/images/uploads/SCFSA_Assessment_FINAL_72711.pdf and then tell me that you think we need, yet another Starbucks and McDonalds.
Doug Strickland April 25, 2012 at 08:40 PM
great point Patricia. Don't forget that there's one INSIDE Safeway too! Remember a similar thing with Costco? When it used to be on Rohnert Park Expressway. they abandoned it, built a new one in Santa Rosa (marketplace), leaving the one here empty and blighted.
G Man April 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I'm generally in favor of bringing new business to town but... another Starbucks and McD's? Hooters was cool because it's the only one in the north bay and, yes, I witnessed the hooks hooping yesterday. Very nice display of agility, I must say. A chic-fil-a would be good. Especially, since SR is giving them a hard time. We could steal it away.
G Man April 26, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I meant hoola hooping. Gotta turn off this darn predictive text thingy. LoL.
Sarah Dowling April 26, 2012 at 04:20 PM
My goodness. I am a Starbucks junkie but even I think this is ridiculous. I mean I thought it was bad that there is a Starbucks right next to a Safeway which has a Starbucks. I agree at least Hooters is something new that we don't see every few miles.
Cam April 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I agree, Sarah....don't forget, there's another 'Bucks not 2 miles away (with drive-in window) on west RP Expwy near Target. If RP is so attractive to chains & RP does need the tax revenue, I'm all for Chik-Fil-A. But please! Not another 'Bucks.
Paul Lawson April 26, 2012 at 09:42 PM
So... the trend being set here is: If you have an existing location in RP, then just add another and another! The Planning commission will review it and add it to a long dead "Specific Plan" in order to meet their needs. I agree RP needs new business, NO DOUBT!!! But why not entice new players with deferred tax programs or special incentives. Especially welcome competitors of businesses in an effort to drive competitive rates for the same or similar products and services that our community will benefit from!? ( ie: No thanks Starbucks, 4 is enough, but Peet's C'mon on in! Two McDonalds is McEnough! Chic Fil-a... C'mon on down!) Or a special effort and attention to a healthy living alternative restaurant or business! Imagine a new philosophy... "Rohnert Park, the Healthy City"
robert aherne April 27, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Forget Starbucks and McDonalds - welcome to the Mega Las Vegas Casino. You asked for it - hope you enjoy it. The digging starts in June. Robert Aherne
Wendy April 27, 2012 at 01:20 AM
its definitely time to make our comments known at the ballot box; i cant believe our bedroom community is becoming Little Vegas, & Big Starbucks....kick the city council and planning commission out!
Jim April 27, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Just what we need another Starbucks. Also another McDonald's. So very imaginative.
Jim April 27, 2012 at 05:42 AM
That makes how many Starbucks in this town and we already have a McDonald's which is disgusting as it is.
Doug Strickland April 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
So - quick tally of Rohnert Park's Vision: Currently: 2 drive through McDonalds, plus 1 inside Walmart 3 drive through Starbucks, plus 2 walkup, plus 1 inside Target Sure, I can totally see why RP "leadership" thinks this is a good direction for the town. Just follow the money...
Paul Lawson April 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I know Jake MaKenzie reads The Patch, I sure would love to hear his two cents.
Wendy April 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Well..the planning commission is appointed by the City Council - interesting, I didn't know that..But also see that there are Council Members terms ending in December - time to get some new people running for City Council!!!!
Cal Watkins May 08, 2012 at 03:00 PM
One thing the above comments seem to be missing....Starbucks and Mc D"s wouldn't bother if there weren't a "Demand", aka they have done their business homework and deem there to be a market for it...which would turn it into a convenience factor for locals. Personally I would rather see another Peets on the east side as well as a decent Restaurant but these two ideas must not be in the current business model of those companies. Instead of complaining I will patronize it if I choose to....same for the Casino...All you folks who don't want these types of businesses, if the demand isn't there they will go away...if the demand is there who are you to be so selfish as to not want them for others.....
RC June 03, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I agree with Wendy. I honestly think the community needs to come together and go to the council members that are "supposedly working for the citizens" and give our inputs. I only reside here part time; but I really care for the quiet and family oriented community. Many other towns and cities have officials that do more to protect and make better decisions for their cities' investment projects.
Bee Ben June 07, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I guess nobody noticed that the plan all along was to close the Starbucks next to Safeway. Worst thing about it was that it was a gathering place for the homeless and associated troublemakers. There were more of them using the tables outside, than actual Starbucks customers.


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