Drive-thrus study ordered


The city moved closer to placing restrictions on the development of drive-thrus last night with the approval of a report by planning committee.

City council asked the planning department to review potential zoning bylaw provisions to regulate drive-thru facilities.

The city needs to look at site-specific issues as well as overall city planning connected with drive-thrus, Coun. Shirley Eggleton said.

Eggleton suggested the city can keep drive-thrus away from residential areas and ensure businesses provide customers with the option to park as well as drive through.

Another problem is the number of vehicle spaces provided in drive-thru lanes, Eggleton said, referring to the Tim Hortons at Brookdale Plaza on Chemong Road.

"There are times when I cannot get into the entrance off Chemong because the cars are in the street," she said.

City zoning bylaws don’t regulate how many vehicle spaces businesses must provide for drive-thru lanes, planning division manager Ken Hetherington said.

"Perhaps that’s one area that we should explore," he said.

In a report to council, Hetherington states the city could stop any new drive-thrus from being built in pedestrian-oriented areas such as the business sections of downtown and Hunter Street East.

While the city can regulate where drive-thrus are built, Hetherington states the Ontario Municipal Board – a quasi-judicial body that considers appeals for municipal planning issues – has ruled against attempts to ban drive-thrus.

Blanket bans of drive-thrus have been overturned by the Ontario Municipal Board, he states.

The Ontario Municipal Board has decided banning drive-thrus would be a disadvantage for the elderly, the disabled and parents with young children in their vehicle, Hetherington states.

Otonabee Ward Coun. Doug Peacock asked if there are specific drive-thru sites that are causing problems.

"I don’t get too many complaints about it. In the south end there are very few drive-thru locations," he said. "I believe site planning can control a lot of the issues."

Eggleton and Coun. Bob Hall, the two Northcrest Ward councillors, are the most recent council members behind the drive to regulate drive-thrus.

Eggleton asked staff to look into the issue in July when she learned another drive-thru restaurant was planned near Portage Place, north of the Wendy’s restaurant on Chemong Road.

At the time, Eggleton cited concerns about idling and traffic congestion.

Eggleton and Hall failed to convince council to put the brakes on a plan to add a drive-thru to the Esso gas station at Chemong and Towerhill roads in October 2006.



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