If you come to Acton, be sure to stop awhile, put your feet up and enjoy the town’s rustic country hospitality – just don’t expect to zip in and breeze through a fast food drive-through restaurant and zip out again.
Since their showdown a year ago with Taco Bell officials determined to see a drive-through section for their Acton location, Acton residents have made it clear to Los Angeles County planners they want to preserve the town’s rustic rural charm and ban all drive-through establishments.
On Wednesday, officials with the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission approved a ban of new drive-through restaurants in Acton.
“The Regional Planning Commission held a public hearing this morning and unanimously recommended that the proposed Acton Community Standards District amendment be approved by the Board of Supervisors,” Mitch Glaser, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning told The Signal Wednesday.
Although the ban is one step closer to becoming law in Acton, county supervisors will still have to hold a public hearing to consider it.
Public sentiment opposed to drive-throughs was hear loud and clear in Acton last month.
Wednesday’s meeting was a review in part of opinions expressed at the public hearing held in Acton on July 19.
“Acton has opposed new freeway-serving commercial development in general, and freeway serving ‘drive-through’ development in particular, for more than two decades because the traffic, trash and other impacts created by such developments degrade Acton’s rural and equestrian profile,” Acton Town Council President Tom Costan said in a letter addressed to commissioners and sent last month.
The people of Acton have rallied against drive-through restaurants repeatedly over the last two decades, Costan pointed out.
They launched petition drives and signed up thousands of supporters. They’ve conducted surveys, wrote letters of opposition and testified at meetings such as the one held last month.
Costan, in his letter to commissioners, called the sentiment of Acton residents on the issue “steadfast and unwavering.”
In urging Los Angeles County’s Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger to uphold amendments made to Acton’s Community Standards District, Costan pointed out that “Acton Town Council supports the proposed ordinance based on the firm belief that it will secure for the community of Acton, the long-sought protections from freeway-serving commercial development.”
County regional planning commissioners meeting in downtown Los Angeles, where drive-through restaurants abound, have listened to the people of Acton and have responded in kind.
In a memo prepared last week for commissioners by regional planner Richard Marshalian, commissioners were reminded that: “Due to an increasing number of new businesses applying for permits to operate drive-through services within the community of Acton, on July 5, 2016, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion directing the director of planning to pursue an amendment to the Acton Community Standards District to preclude all new drive-throughs within the Acton CSD.”
Supervisors hammered out the no drive-through motion two months after a heated showdown with Taco Bell owners who were adamant that their approved restaurant come with a drive-through.
Acton residents, held firm and said no.
Nixing the drive-through turned out to be a deal-breaker for Taco Bell and also turned out to be a rallying point for Acton residents.
For months, the company behind Taco Bell franchise – the First Street Development/Brevidoro Family Partnership – had tried to get approval to set up shop in Acton.
In May, 2016, county supervisors approved construction of a Taco Bell in Acton but on the condition the restaurant offers no “drive-through” service.
“And, that’s a deal breaker,” company representative Brandon Stein told The Signal shortly after the county’s decision. “It’s all about convenience and moving customers through.
“And since 65 percent of our customers are drive-through, without it we can’t afford to continue,” he said.
on Twitter @jamesarturholt