+ Panera Bread: the rest of the story
As the city’s project manager for the Panera Bread application, I can surely tell you that to use the Panera Bread development as the vehicle to further the reputation of Palm Coast as “business unfriendly” in the Jan. 5 story, “Order Canceled,” was a poor choice.
(To read City Manager Jim Landon's reaction to the story, click here. To read other residents' reactions, click here and here.)
This is not the forum to elaborate. Firstly, the trail is lengthy, technical in nature and frankly, not worth the time. The records are plentiful and accountable. And, perhaps more significantly, I see no merit in placating the chosen few in the community who, despite lacking knowledge of the facts and are clueless, the platform to bark out negativism, spin fairy tales with nothing positive to offer other than feed his or her mantra to cast Palm Coast city government and all those associated as either inept, incompetent and/or unscrupulous.
The record speaks for itself on this Panera Bread facility and in particular, the manner chosen by Panera Bread to achieve development approval. The wounds were self-inflicted. The lack of communication by and between the Panera Bread team, the failure to ever meet with city staff throughout the development approval process (which includes site plan, landscape/irrigation, utilities, engineering, stormwater, etc.) and perhaps most significantly, the failure to assign someone within the Panera Bread organization to actively co-ordinate the effort on their behalf contributed significantly to the outcome.
The facts, if thoroughly researched, substantiate the words. Nothing to hide here, no apologies warranted, not on this one. To the general public and in particular to those elderly residents of the community who have visited the facility, well, be thankful staff had you in their thoughts. I leave you to wrestle with that.
Retired project manager for the city of Palm Coast