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Geoff Fisk, DESERT DISPATCH
The Panera Bread drive through in Victorville on Tuesday afternoon. Barstow will be getting it's own Panera Bread location in Lenwood, as the Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal Monday night to bring the sandwich shop to the city.

Panera Bread coming to Lenwood

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Locals and tourists will soon be able to get their hands on paninis and signature sandwiches in Lenwood, as Panera Bread is coming to town.

A proposal to build a Panera Bread location at 2570 High Point Parkway was approved unanimously at Monday night’s Planning Commission meeting.

The restaurant, which serves a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads and coffee-based drinks, will include a drive-thru and will be located next to Burger King and Chipotle.

Robert Kluger, real estate manager for Panera Bread, was among the representatives from the company in attendance at Monday’s session.

“This is actually a test for us, being off a freeway exit and doing a freeway stop location,” Kluger said. “And we’re thrilled that Barstow is that test, because we did a lot of research along the West Coast to see where the best place would be to do this.”

In 2009 the restaurant review website Zagat named Panera Bread its No. 1 choice for “Best Healthy Option,” “Best Salad” and “Best Facilities” among  restaurants with fewer than 5,000 locations. The chain had 1,708 locations as of June 2013.

“I’m glad to see something new,” Barstow resident Tony Marcus said. “I’ve never heard of this business before.”

The Planning Commission also approved a proposal for a 60-foot Panera Bread sign, which will be freeway oriented. 

The sign will be the second proposed sign in Lenwood to exceed 50 feet, as the commission adopted an ordinance in July to raise the maximum height of freeway-oriented signs from 50 feet to 75 feet. Any signs exceeding 50 feet in height must be constructed with a two-pole base, according to the ordinance.

A proposal for a 70-foot sign for the International House of Pancakes in Lenwood was approved at the Jan. 15 Planning Commission meeting.

At Monday night’s session, commission Chairman Robert Clemmer raised the question of other Lenwood businesses wanting to extend the height of freeway-oriented signs, many of which are situated on a single-pole base.

“With the sign ordinance and the changing that we’re doing out at Lenwood, I would assume that we would expect that additional tenants out in that area are going to be wanting to raise their existing signs,” Clemmer said. “By going from one pole to two, are we going to create additional issues with the people that are out there?”

Representatives from Panera Bread asked the commission to consider allowing the upcoming 60-foot sign to be constructed with a single-pole base. Brad Merrell, consulting city engineer for Barstow, said the ordinance should essentially be enforced as written whenever possible.

“We never did have a requirement for two poles until we went with our new ordinance of raising it,” Merrell said. “And I think we probably should have included something that says when it’s structurally (safe) and economical to go to two poles, we should recommend going to two poles. 

“And I think that needs to be our cutoff. I don’t think it’s an architectural thing. It’s mainly safety and engineering.”


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