Drive-Thru Restaurant Ban May Be Revoked
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Aug. 22, 2013
PALM DESERT - It's hard to imagine fast food without drive-thrus, but in the city of Palm Desert, these aren't allowed along one of the busiest streets, Highway 111.
When the city was established in the early 1980s, drive-thru restaurants were prohibited, and since then, the issue of bringing this service along Highway 111 has been long debated in the council.
"Right now, we're at the midst of a 20-year strategic planning, a process with the city. We have about 120 engaged community members who have donated their time and their expertise to look at this," said City Mayor, Jan Harnik.
Thursday night, Mayor Harnik and the rest of the councilmembers decided to postpone the discussion regarding the potential expansion of these drive-thru restaurants until the land use committee submits a detailed plan as early as next April.
The council will vote on whether drive-thru restaurants should be allowed citywide, expand the drive-thrus that are currently allowed in certain locations in the city or simply not change the current policy.
Some long-time residents in the area, such as Nancy De Brown, say having drive-thrus would make life easier.
"I think we need to have that service even in the summer. It's very, very necessary," expressed De Brown, "I have a hard time parking to get some food."
The City banned drive-thru restaurants in order to preserve its clean and urban image, aesthetically speaking. John's restaurant owner, George Argyros, is one of several owners who agrees with this opinion.
"I think Palm Desert is a high-end city and has a very good image for a number of years, and drive-thrus were not there. I don't think drive-thrus will have any improvement in the city," said Argyros.
Currently, drive-thru restaurants are allowed only near Interstate 10 exits in Palm Desert. These include along Monterey Avenue, Cook Street and Country Club Drive. The fate of these go-to windows for a quick meal is in the hands of the City Council.
"My feeling is it's probably in the best interest of the city to leave the drive-thrus where they are. We do offer them for those who really want drive-thrus. It's there, but I think for 111 it's probably best to leave it the way it is," said Mayor Harnik.
Some residents are still waiting for the day when the zoning ordinance will be revoked so they can avoid long lines inside their favorite fast-food restaurants along Highway 111.
"If I'm in my car with my water with my air conditioning and I'm able to drive through a restaurant and order my breakfast and order my lunch, I think I would feel more comfortable," added De Brown, "I think a lot of my neighbors would appreciate that too."