City Council: Ban on restaurant drive-thrus extends to 2021

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo

Amid the withdrawal of plans for a second Chick-fil-A and greenlights for two new Starbucks, the Santa Clarita City Council approved Tuesday the extension of a temporary ban for new restaurant drive-thrus. 

Council members voted unanimously to push a moratorium on the establishment of new eateries with drive-thrus for an additional 10 months through Jan. 14, 2021, as city staff members continue to find solutions that will help curb extensive queuing seen at some fast-food chains, such as at In-N-Out and Chick-fil-A. 

“So again, we are continuing to do research, looking at applications as they come in to make sure that they provide a queuing analysis that makes sense so that they can move forward,” said Jason Crawford, economic development director for the city. 

The temporary ban, which initially took effect Jan. 14 and was set to expire Feb. 28, aims to prevent traffic hazards caused by long queuing lines as current standards require the stacking of six cars behind the order board with no less than a total wait length of 200 feet, but recent fast-food restaurants have experienced “significant longer lines,” according to a city staff report. 

Crawford and City Council members emphasized the ban wouldn’t prohibit projects from obtaining permits if applicants can provide the city with a thorough analysis proving that their restaurant drive-thru proposals wouldn’t cause traffic hazards with vehicles queuing in driveway aprons or on adjacent public streets. 

Chick-fil-A sought to build a Santa Clarita’s second locale with a drive-thru where the former Boston Market restaurant once operated on Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, but the corporation recently withdrew its application.

Starbucks was approved for two additional drive-thru locations in Canyon Country after submitting an analysis and meeting criteria, said Crawford, adding the matter will return before the City Council when city staff members have completed more research.

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