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Flapjacks Update -- permit delays continue

As mentioned in a previous post here, Frank Tofanelli is trying to rebuild his FlapJacks restaurant since it was destroyed by a fire in 2016. He is trying put the building back as it was, a midcentury modern architectural landmark. That's respectful of the community. Yet while we are all thankful for that, and waiting patiently for one of our favorite restaurants to reopen, it seems the County doesn't share our sense of importance. Here's what Frank says in his customer outreach email this week:

"FlapJacks is still waiting on permits. I have had people offer to talk to someone at the County but I am reluctant to pressure the guys at the desk fearing it will only cause them to really work against us."
Frank Tofanelli, owner of Flapjacks restaurant

Heartbreaking news, isn't it? Frank is a small business owner trying to run his restaurant business (you can go to his Sunrise Country Waffles at 6986 Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights) and treat his customers and employees well. That's enough of a challenge for anyone. Rebuilding FlapJacks has complicated things by orders of magnitude. If we were a city, there would be real responsiveness. There would be a local building department a few minutes away and a city council with members who each represented about 20,000 people. But we are not a city; we don't have a nimble-and-quick municipal government like Citrus Heights or Elk Grove or Rancho Cordova do. Instead, we get lost in the noise of Sacramento County, the municipal government for the vast urbanized UnCity of half a million people and a ton of businesses. The County building department has good people, but they are located miles away on the other side of the American River south of Highway 50 and they have a huge workload. Plus it is frustrating for anyone to get the attention of our lone Supervisor, who represents 350,000 constituents. It's not realistic for the County to be a responsive municipal government. The deck is stacked against the County giving special treatment to Frank's needs because there are so many other projects pending in the in-box. It's a tough situation for Frank's business. It is hard on Arden Arcade's local economy -- we needs this kind of business way more than we need more X-rated massage parlors, more discount stores, more liquor stores, or more Mattress Firm stores. And it remains a blow to our community, which cherishes FlapJacks.

It will come back eventually, once the permit nightmare gets resolved