St. John’s mulling over drive-thru policy

Dave Bartlett
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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.

Geographic location: Canada, Topsail Road, Halifax Regina Calgary Kamloops

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Recent comments

  • Marian Atkinson
    September 25, 2011 - 14:15

    Those that objected to the Burger King Drive-thru on Torbay Road provided Council with information on Burger King drive-thru in Atlantic Canada. They were all in industrial areas, not near residential homes. Now Council is surprised at all the information they received, and all the regulations in place elsewhere? They should have had regulations in place with the very first application for a drive-thru they ever received -- not wait til the 21st Century.

  • Taxi Drivers Cant Stop BUT Coffee Addicts Can
    September 25, 2011 - 11:59

    I am a taxi driver. This past weekend the RNC drove away a number of taxis parked on the curb at 12:00 at night waiting for people to come out of Mile One saying we were blocking a traffic lane. But, they do not seems to bother private cars lines up on the road in rush on traffic on abusy street just to get a lousy $1.50 coffee. Come on RNC and Parking Enforcement! Finally ticket these people on a daily basis start driving them away for bloack a lane. Then, see how quick the problem will be solved.

  • Crystal
    September 24, 2011 - 20:39

    It would be WAY less convenient. What about the mother or father who would like to have a coffee or tea on their rush to places they need to be with children in the vehicle. It is very unreasonable to unpack the children out of a vehicle to stand in a line which is going to be even longer without a drivethru. Not everyone had the convenience to just hop out of their vehicles and go inside these places and why should they have to go without something they enjoy because they don't have that luxury? With that said, it is VERY clear that something needs to be done when there are lineups going out into traffic on busy hours. Some of the newer ones have longer lots and a bigger area for drive thru line ups and they should all be required to do that, as well. Can't have a whole lane of traffic held up for a tim hortons lineup

    • mary
      September 25, 2011 - 17:33

      Crystal states, "Not everyone had the convenience to just hop out of their vehicles and go inside these places and why should they have to go without something they enjoy because they don't have that luxury? " Crystal, it is only a coffee or tea for goodness sake. Blocking traffic and thus endangering lives is not worth a coffee or tea. Maybe the parents' should be more concerned about being rear ended while they are stopped in a traffic lane illegally. Here is novel idea - make coffee and tea at home and put it in a travel mug. That would take less time than lining up at some drive-thru. Oh, btw, please be careful driving and drinking your hot beverage, you could be distracted and have an accident.

  • Willy
    September 24, 2011 - 15:36

    I would not eat the slop that these food places produce unless I was starving, plus I do not trust the employees that they have working in these places, especially in the larger Centers.These places actually try to make you believe they are doing good for your town etc...But they are only trying to indoctrinate kids into believing that the food they serve is an acceptable menu when it is detrimental to your long term health. Drive ins are nuisance and should only be allowed in area's that have no residences within 1000 feet.

  • Greg
    September 24, 2011 - 13:17

    Drive-thrus should cease to exist. Use the space to make extra parking, and then use the extra cash register inside. Safer, less pollution, less noise... and of no less convenience.

  • Leo Stamp
    September 24, 2011 - 12:08

    There is only one place for drive throughs, so far out in the bush the only thing they can annoy is the wildlife. Especially these coffee joints, where they effect the flow of traffic.

  • Ron
    September 24, 2011 - 09:39

    The Tim's on Harvey Rd and the Tim's on Ruby line pose haszards with early morning drive thru line ups. The one on Harvey, gets very dangerously in the way of the fire hall right next door. There is not enough room for the huge fire trucks trying to get onto Harvey Road. At 7:30 am on Ruby Line the line up extends out and beyond the 4 lane highway of Ruby Line. Sooner or later someone will be KILLED. That WILL happen.