Drive-up window key hurdle for possible Santa Rosa In-N-Out

Drive-up window key hurdle for possible Santa Rosa In-N-Out


Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 10:32 p.m.

In-N-Out Burger wants to open a restaurant in Santa Rosa and the key hurdle is gaining city approval for a drive-through section near an often congested intersection.

City planners are recommending the Santa Rosa Planning Commission allow the immensely popular burger chain to augment a planned sit-down fast-food restaurant by selling its burgers, fries and shakes through a drive-up window on County Center Drive near Steele Lane where the busy thoroughfare runs under Highway 101.

But the prospect of more than a dozen cars sitting in line for food at peak periods could run up against a City Council directive to review how developments contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, said Noah Housh, the city planner for the In-N-Out proposal.

“That’s going to be the deciding factor,” Housh said. “Drive-throughs are a fairly big deal in Santa Rosa. There has been council direction that we may not want to allow drive- throughs.”

In-N-Out operates drive-through restaurants in Petaluma and Rohnert Park and has made clear to city officials it would likely not build the Santa Rosa burger joint without a drive-up window, Housh said.

The In-N-Out project manager did not return calls. Company officials do not comment on a restaurant that is not on the company’s list of stores it is set to break ground on or open, said Phyllis Cudworth, a spokeswoman.

The Irvine-based chain began informal talks with the city’s Design Review Board in February and revised the plan after two meetings with the panel.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider permitting the drive-through at its Aug. 27 meeting.

Planned for a 1-acre site at Steele Lane and County Center Drive, the 3,350-square-foot In-N-Out would replace a larger restaurant constructed in 1973 and now home to a Chinese food establishment, which would be demolished.

The In-N-Out would have enough parking for its building size, Housh said. A traffic study commissioned by In-N-Out found the restaurant would not worsen congestion at nearby intersections, he said.

The proposal would not require Planning Commission review if not for the proposed drive-through. The site’s general commercial zoning allows restaurants, Housh said.

As planned, the drive-through meets the city’s requirements. Those include the width of lanes, turning area, spacing from driveways and room for cars lining up at the window.

But the backdrop to the review is the city’s effort to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging development that puts more housing on less land and mixes residential and commercial development so residents drive less.

The last drive-through reviewed by the city was approved two years ago for the Longs Drug Store on Mendocino Avenue. The previous drive-throughs approved for food establishments were in 2005 for Panda Express and Starbucks, both in a shopping center at Stony Point and Sebastopol roads, Housh said.

If the Planning Commission permits the In-N-Out drive-through, the Design Review Board must then approve the final plan. The City Council still could take up the project for final review.

Perinton reviews drive-through policy

Perinton reviews drive-through policy

Ernst Lamothe Jr. • Staff writer • August 22, 2009

PERINTON — With the town of Perinton expecting continued commercial growth, officials have commissioned a study to examine future policy for new drive-through businesses.

The town paid Bergmann and Associates $6,500 for the study that should be completed by the end of the year. The firm’s principal planner, Andrew Raus, who is also a Perinton resident, will lead the project.

The proposal calls for the firm to draft drive-through regulations in conjunction with the town’s code for commercial districts, limited commercial districts and special-use permits. The town code states any drive-through or drive-up window must have a minimum of 10 parking spaces and demonstrate that it will not be detrimental to on-site traffic patterns. The town and planning boards will review the recommendations.

"Drive-throughs are something that residents have mixed emotions, with some people really thinking it is convenient and some people hating them," said Mike Doser, director of code enforcement and development. "Because of that, we hope this study gives us an idea about how to go forward with drive-through developments in town."

Brighton had a townwide ban on drive-throughs until the Town Board updated its town code in 1994. In the village of Pittsford, drive-through banking is permitted, but drive-through restaurants are banned. In the past few years, officials have heard Perinton residents voice strong opposition against them.

James Smith, Perinton supervisor, said that now was the right time to authorize the study, while there was a lull in these types of projects coming before the board.

"It’s not that we are unhappy with anything we did in the past," said Smith. "It’s just that drive-throughs are becoming a standard request with commercial development, and we don’t think it works as an amenity in all circumstances." VIDEO | Belfast residents fight KFC drive-thru



Planning meeting over drive-through


A meeting took place on Tuesday between the Northern Ireland Planning Office and concerned residents of east Belfast.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

They have been campaigning against plans for a new drive-through restaurant in Ballyhackamore.

The plans place the restaurant in the heart of a residential community.

Local MLA Naomi Long has said approving this development would set a worrying precedent.

She said: "If this gets approval, there’s virtually no street corner anywhere in Belfast – or indeed in Northern Ireland – where you couldn’t put a drive-through restaurant. It’s that simple.

This is right beside residential properties, so I think everyone recognises the importance of the decision that needs to be made by the planners."

© UTV News

The Big Ask: Climate change, “ACT NOW!”

We need strong leadership on climate change. Too many politicians are happy to speak about the issue, but their promises have often turned out to be just a load more hot air. One exception is the United Kingdom, where a climate law has just been adopted, which will force the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions every year.
We need your help to ensure that other governments follow this example.
Watch the film clip online at:
More info about the European Big Ask campaign at:

Second Cup Plans New Drive-thru as CO2 Levels Soar Out of Control | Charlottetown

In April of this year CO2 hit an 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) – Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm).

In June it went up again to 390.18

The fact that we are building new drive-thrus instead of shutting them down speaks volumes about our priorities in our current messed up culture.

These rising levels are significantly higher than the natural range (~180 ppm to 300 ppm) that existed for at least 800,000 years since the start of the industrial revolution.

Nature needs 100 years to undo past 23 years of CO2 rise.

Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that we humans figured out how to completely turn our carbon emissions down to zero. How long would it take for Nature to do her wonderful magic and get atmospheric CO2 back to 350? Here is what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us:

Complete elimination of CO2 emissions is estimated to lead to a slow decrease in atmospheric CO2 of about 40 ppm over the 21st century.

— IPCC AR4 FAQ 10.3

The problem is far more than the impacts that CO2 is having on the climate system (and the oceans, sea ice, water availability, economies and let’s not forget about other species). It is the fact that CO2 emissions are moving in the wrong direction, further and further away from zero.

How are we going to explain our inaction and complacency to our children and grandchildren???

Three hundred thousand PEOPLE – men, women children – just like us – died last year from climate change and what are we doing to combat climate change? Building MORE drive-thrus is just one inexcusable thing of many. Where are our ethics???

Drive-thru no problem for new coffee shop: Lantz

Last Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2009 | 4:59 PM AT Comments5Recommend6

CBC News

The new Second Cup café will go near the corner of University Avenue and Kirkwood Drive in Charlottetown.(CBC)

A new drive-thru coffee shop on Charlottetown’s main drag is getting thumbs up from city council.

Coffee shop drive-thrus have been a source of complaints because of the traffic tie-ups they cause. Late last winter the city installed "No stopping" signs at drive-thrus to keep waiting motorists off the streets.

But the drive-thru planned for a new Second Cup on University Avenue will not be a problem, Coun. Rob Lantz told CBC News on Thursday.

"We promised to scrutinize these drive-thrus a little more closely when the applications come in," Lantz said.

"We think it’s got room to stack up about 32 cars, which I think is more than enough. I believe the plan is for right turn only to exit out onto University Avenue to keep the traffic flowing."

Another national chain, Starbucks, is also brewing plans to open a store in downtown Charlottetown.


A drive through with a stack of 32 cars? The Green Province for sure.


Awesome, another drive-thru. Aren’t there enough of these in the city to satisfy those people who would rather sit idling in their cars for 20 min while the inside counter is empty? Not to mention the storm water runoff issue that paving such a large queue line is surely to cause. I always thought Second Cup marketed itself to more of a walk-in, sit-down crowd anyway.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

‘July CO2’ continues dangerous rise: 51 straight years

August 20, 2009

‘July CO2’ continues dangerous rise: 51 straight years

Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 387.81 parts per million (ppm) in the month of July 2009, according to scientific data released August 10, 2009, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States. At the same monitoring location, the Mauna Loa Observatory, atmospheric CO2 was 386.38 ppm one year earlier in July 2008. These rising levels are significantly higher than the natural range (~180 ppm to 300 ppm) that existed for at least 2.1 million years until the start of the industrial revolution. [reference]

Since the start of high-precision instrument monitoring at the Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958, the monthly mean concentration for July CO2 has been higher each year relative to the prior July. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the chief human-made greenhouse gas that is responsible for global warming.

Drive-thrus banned at central Mountain plaza Hamilton | Tim Hortons Appeals

Drive-thrus banned at central Mountain plaza

Concern over congestion at busy corner

By Kevin Werner/News staff


Aug 11, 2009

If people want to shop at the plaza on the corner of Upper James and Mohawk Road West, they’ll have to get out of your vehicle.

Members of the economic development and planning committee this week banned drive-thrus at the plaza because of a concern over traffic congestion on the nearby roadways.

“Any drive-thru could be a problem,” said Ward 8 (west Mountain) councillor Terry Whitehead.

Politicians allowed a zoning bylaw amendment to the plaza, owned by J. Beume Real Estate Limited, to include a restaurant, but agreed with city staff to exclude drive-thrus for restaurants. City staff said since more people use a restaurant drive-thru, it would cause more traffic problems in the area than a drive-thru bank, for instance.

But Coun. Whitehead and the committee went a step further in a 4-2 vote prohibiting any drive-thrus at the plaza. Coun. Whitehead said regardless of the business, a drive-thru would result in traffic tie-ups in the area.

“Any drive-thru would be a problem,” he said.

James Webb, of Webb Planning Consultants, said the owner had been encouraging a Tim Hortons to locate at the plaza. The restaurant would have a drive-thru, he said. And to also prohibit drive-thrus for other businesses at the plaza is not proper, he said.
“We don’t feel it is appropriate,” he said.

Council is scheduled to debate the recommendation at its meeting Thursday.

This is the first time a committee has banned drive-thrus in a specific location. Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie has encouraged city planners to eliminate drive-thrus in new commercial developments, especially in suburban areas arguing they contribute to urban sprawl, cause traffic and safety problems and poor air quality.

University of Alberta students in 2006 monitored a popular Tim Hortons in Edmonton for 54 hours and counted 3,756 vehicles idling for an average of more than five minutes each, with the longest idle more than 12 minutes.

Tim McCabe, general manager of economic development and planning, said in the city’s new Urban Official Plan that was approved by council in June, drive-thrus are prohibited in certain areas including official Business Improvement Areas, downtowns, and in nodes and corridors areas under the city’s Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy plan. He said that Tim Hortons has appealed the city’s Urban Official Plan to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. McCabe said drive-thrus create “minimal” impacts to an area when it comes to air quality and “stacking” problems with traffic.

In a decision, the OMB struck down portions of Ottawa’s comprehensive zoning bylaws that prohibited drive-thrus on traditional main streets and substituted wording to include exceptions.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

Residents protest at drive-through plans | Belfast UK

Residents protest at drive-through plans

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Knockhill residents and local political representatives have voiced opposition to the plans

Kingston to Discourage Drive-thrus | Tim Hortons Threatens Legal Action

Drive-thru provision may drive coffee franchise to sue


Posted 1 day ago

Tim Hortons may sue and Lowe’s could find a way to build where it wants to in the wake of the city adopting a new official plan.

The document, which will guide where and how development will take place over the coming decades, also sets guidelines for where new halfway houses, health-care facilities and student homes can be built.

The official plan is now in the hands of provincial officials who will pore through it before opening a 20-day period for public appeals, likely in October.

Besides Tim Hortons, there could be a slew of hearings for companies and individuals unimpressed with how the document treats them or their properties.

"We’re hoping that (the number of appeals) will be minimal," said George Wallace, the city’s planning director.

Topping the list is Tim Hortons. The coffee and doughnut purveyor bristles at one provision of the new plan, designed to "discourage" drive-thru lanes.

Only once has the company gone to the Ontario Municipal Board over an official plan issue related to drive-thrus.

It won.

Company lawyer Michael Polowin said he’d rather see things worked out before a hearing becomes necessary.

"We don’t want to go the OMB, but if we have to, we will," he said.

The city produced a number of studies to back up parts of the official plan, but didn’t provide one to explain its drive-thru rationale, Polowin said.

The OMB, which has final say on all planning decisions, will believe the city is unfairly targeting one industry and require the city to change the wording in the document, Polowin said.

The word that causes the most concern is "discourage." Tim Hortons believes that’s tantamount to a prohibition; the city says it allows planners to deal with drive-thru applications on a case-by-case basis.

"We thought the wording we put in there addressed their concerns," Wallace said, "but it did not."

Wallace said the city expects Tim Hortons to file an appeal, which would result in a hearing likely by April or May.

Tim Hortons says drive-thrus are central to its business plan and the wording wouldn’t permit it to build any new stores in the city.

The company says it is planning six more locations in Kingston, which could create 200 new jobs, according to a letter Polowin sent to city hall. (Tim Hortons already has 23 locations in Kingston and employs 600 people.)

Polowin said the belief that drive-thrus cause excess emissions is false. Peer-reviewed studies the company commissioned showed that idling for about four minutes in a drive-thru line emits less greenhouse gases than parking a car, going into a store and then starting it again five minutes later.

"The air quality thing is simply wrong. It couldn’t be further from the truth," Polowin said. "We’ve had the science done."

He said the company wants to present the information to planners and councillors, which is why it didn’t hand over the studies. "The documents need to be properly presented," he said. "The City of Kingston doesn’t have a science department."

The new planning document merges the official plans from the former townships of Pittsburgh and Kingston and the former city. Wallace said planners didn’t introduce a lot of new information into the document and tried to correct any past errors.

Property owners that wanted their land zoned a particular way in the new plan didn’t always get their wish.

"We were not doing that unless there was an exceptional circumstance," Wallace said.

"That would include NCS Holdings."

NCS Holdings Ltd. is the company that owns land along Gardiners Road where Lowe’s wants to build. If the city grants its request, the official plan would be amended to allow commercial development on land that is zoned for industrial use only.

Such a change would allow Lowe’s to build its proposed home improvement store, which is the subject of an OMB hearing slated for the winter.

The official plan will also limit development to areas that already have municipal services, mainly south of Hwy. 401.

The growth boundary could change depending on whether any challenges are successful. If one property sneaks in and pushes the line out a little farther, that gives fodder for the next land owner to ask for the same treatment.

More information about the city’s new official plan can be found online at

– – –

What is an official plan?

* An official plan is the primary planning document for a municipality. It lays out how and where development can take place based on projected growth in the coming decades.

* This plan will replace the plans from the former city, Pittsburgh and Kingston townships.

* City planners expect Kingston’s population to grow to 133,100 from the current population of about 117,200, an increase of 15,900 people over the next 17 years.

* They also estimate the local economy will grow and create new jobs, with a target of 700 new jobs per year being created in Kingston, or about 14,000 by 2026.

* While the population could rise, the number of people per household is anticipated to fall over the next 15 years. That will require 13,300 new homes and apartments to be built by 2026, or about 780 new residential units per year.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

DENVER | More sustainable drive-thrus??

More sustainable drive-thrus??

August 8, 5:16 PMimage001Denver Sustainable Business Examinerimage001Graham Russell

More and more cities, including some in Colorado, are considering a ban on new drive-thrus, particularly fast-food restaurants, as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from idling vehicles. Most Americans prefer the "convenience" of sitting in their vehicle for ten minutes inching up to a fast-food drive-up window rather than park, walk across the lot and get instant service at the inside counter.

Many studies have been done to determine the GHG impact of idling vehicles at drive-thrus, many of them in Canada like this one focused on a popular drive-thru in Edmonton, showing an average idle time of 5 minutes and a longest idle time of 12 minutes.
Taken across the US as a whole, the number of idling hours at fast-food joints and the resultant tonnage of GHG emissions every day must be quite enormous.

Some municipalities have introduced laws that can slap a hefty fine on motorists who idle more than a certain period while waiting in-line at a fast food restaurant but this is obvious very difficult to monitor.
At a cleantech meeting last week, a friend of mine proposed a much more elegant and creative approach by suggesting that a small tax should be added to the price of every transaction at a drive-thru restaurant (or perhaps even ANY drive-thru establishment). The number of drive-thrus in the US is exploding (see this item from USA Today) because the drive-up option is clearly perceived as more convenient by the American public. Why shouldn’t we pay a bit more for it?

I don’t think for one moment that an extra dime per transaction would alter the behavior at fast-food drive-thrus so the impact on GHG emissions would probably be small. However, think of the beneficial environmental uses such tax revenues could be put. How much could it be? I haven’t seen any studies at all of this idea but let’s use some simple figures.

Extrapolating from worldwide figures, McDonalds’ 13,000 domestic restaurants serve 19-20 million customers per day, 50-60% of them at the drive-up windows, so that’s a total of perhaps 10-11 million drive-thru transactions per day. A ten cent tax on each would generate annual tax revenues of about $380 million, a 25 cent tax nearly $1 billion. Extrapolate that to all of the fast-food and other drive-thru establishments across the country and you have a sum of money that, while modest compared with the trillions currently flying around in various bailout programs, could make a useful contribution to the development of technologies for a cleaner economy. Just an idea!