June 9, 2008 · Updated 6:28 PM
McDonalds plans to upgrade its eatery, drawing opposition from longtime foes.
McDonalds restaurants across the globe are undergoing makeovers with sleeker lines and warmer colors under grander golden arches.
The same is true for the Bainbridge McDonalds, with plans to upgrade the islands lone franchise hamburger eatery exterior for a more striking, contemporary design.
But some islanders whove objected to the restaurant on aesthetic grounds since it was first proposed more than 15 years ago say the more drab and unassuming the corporate franchise, the better.
We tried to encourage them to at least blend in with the community (rather than) more of the same of Anywhere, USA, said Bainbridge farmer Betsey Wittick, one of many islanders who protested construction of the McDonalds at State Route 305 and High School Road in 1989.
I wish they were even more innocuous, Wittick said, and Im discouraged they (now) want a brighter roof and bigger sign.
Designs submitted to the city planning department by McDonalds depict various exterior upgrades, including an extended parapet, an illuminated logo, an aluminum cornice strip and golden arches extending over the roof.
Ultimately, I think itll be a much nicer look, said Randy Hedrick of Lacey-based I-5 Design and Manufacture, which submitted plans to the city on behalf of McDonalds. Its a complete change, with toned-down colors: browns, garden greens and shades of copper. It has more of an organic look.
The proposed upgrades will also replace weathered shingles and improve fire safety, according to Hedrick.
But preliminary designs submitted to the city have already been sidelined by restrictions imposed on the building when it was permitted in the early 1990s.
According to city planning director Larry Frazier, design plans already vetoed would have included a marquee sign that exceeded city rules limiting signs to 10 percent of a buildings facade.
Other proposed signs ran afoul of local restrictions barring some logo or advertising signs over 2 square feet in size.
Some community activists say McDonalds plans would break other provisions, including an agreement between the restaurant owners and the city that the building would maintain a subdued cedar siding exterior and a cedar shingle roof.
The city and citizens worked with McDonalds a long time to come up with a final design, said Charles Schmid of the Association of Bainbridge Communities, who championed design restrictions on the restaurant in the late 1980s and early 90s. They should stick with what was decided. A deals a deal.
Peninsula McDonalds RestÂaurants, which owns the Bainbridge eatery and numerous others in the area, submitted revisions to its planning department application Friday afternoon. Bainbridge city planners will take public comment on the proposed upgrades through next Thursday, when a final administrative decision on the application is expected.
Despite the proposed changes, Peninsula McDonalds marketing director Karen McKay said the Bainbridge outlet will reflect local character.
Its a little more modern, a little retro, she said. We just finished the McDonalds in Silverdale and the response has been great.
The fast-food giant, which boasts 30,000 eateries worldwide and serves some 40 million customers each day, is undergoing a worldwide makeover larger in scale than anything the company has attempted in its 51-year history.
McDonalds aesthetic changes are running parallel with recent menu revamps aimed at a growing number of health-consious consumers. Asian-themed salads targeting women and fresh fruit for children are now offered alongside the standard burger and fries.
As McDonalds undergoes changes at the corporate level, McKay pledged a sensitive, localized approach toward the island franchises redesign.
Well consider the community and take into account the neighborhoods taste, she said.
But on some palettes, McDonalds will never taste quite right on Bainbridge.
The restaurant inspired a city ban on formula take-out restaurants, which has been modified over the years to restrict similar businesses to High School Road east of the highway.
The golden arches sign is probably the most hated institution in the world as far as I can tell from the meeting, said then-mayor of Winslow Alice Tawresey in 1988, after one of many raucous and well-attended community forums centering on the the restaurants construction.
Meeting attendees at that time accused the propertys local owner, Don Nakata, of heartlessness for allowing the eaterys construction, while residents flooded the Reviews letters pages bemoaning the chains corporate influence and warning that the restaurant would spark the islands transformation into a new Bellevue.
Others, however, welcomed McÂDonÂalds low-cost meals and saw opposition to the fast-food chain as an early sign of gentrification.
That sentiment was reflected in a poem published on the Reviews letters page in 1988: I think I shall never see a McDonalds on our isle. The citizens are out in force to confirm our snobbish style.