The city of St. John’s is reviewing its policy on approving new drive-thrus. — File photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
The city of St. John’s is deciding which development regulations should be considered before allowing drive-thrus near residential areas.
In April, city council approved a controversial drive-thru on Torbay Road.
Afterwards, Coun. Tom Hann asked city staff to investigate what parameters other cities in Canada consider before allowing drive-thrus to be established.
He also asked council to defer a decision on another proposed drive-thru — this one on Topsail Road, which was opposed by many who live nearby — until the city had looked at other jurisdictions and developed a firm drive-thru policy.
The information about what other cities do, and staff’s preliminary examination — totalling 13 pages — was tabled at this week’s city planning committee meeting.
Due to the amount of information — and additional input required from the city’s legal and engineering departments — the matter was put off until the next planning committee meeting.
Hann told The Telegram Friday the city always gets complaints about drive-thrus, including odours, noise from the restaurant and ordering speakers, garbage and rodents and traffic backlogs that block roads and intersections.
He said he asked for a policy to be drawn up so both developers and residents know what the rules are for future drive-thrus.
“I don’t think we were consistent in terms of what we were (allowing),” said Hann of the way drive-thrus were approved in the past.
When the documents were tabled, Hann said he couldn’t believe how much information was out there.
“I was absolutely surprised by the amount of information that came back,” he said.
“A lot of (other municipalities) have had issues and … cities, including Halifax, Regina, Calgary and Kamloops, have a range of requirements for such things as visual barriers, noise buffers and special vehicle lanes for drive-thrus.”
It was “hard to delve through,” he added.
The committee voted Thursday to allow time for the various city departments to confer and draw up draft regulations.
The matter will come back to the next planning committee meeting and the public will be given a chance to express their opinions on the issue before council takes a final vote on the rules.