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SANTA MONICA : City to Weigh Ban on Drive-In Window Sales at Night

August 06, 1995|LOUISE YARNALL

Judy Silverman knew there would be some noise when she bought a Santa Monica condo in the late 1980s next to a busy, 24-hour Jack-in-the-Box restaurant. She never dreamed how much.

As the opening of the Third Street Promenade transformed the city into a hot party spot, late-night revelers lined up at the drive-in window of the Wilshire Boulevard restaurant. Into the early morning, Silverman tried to sleep to the cacophony of honking horns and "May I take your order please?" from the drive-in.

So began a five-year battle for this unemployed paralegal and mother of two. Today, she is one step away from relief.

The City Council will consider a measure in the fall to outlaw drive-up window sales after 10 p.m. beginning in 1998 in all the restaurants in the city--including the handful of older restaurants such as McDonald's and Jack-in-the-Box.

Since 1988, city zoning ordinances have banned drive-up window sales from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. in new restaurants near residential areas, but older restaurants--including the 30-year-old Jack-in-the-Box near Silverman's home--were exempted.

An amendment being considered by the council would apply the restrictions to all restaurants starting in 1998.

The proposed change and a related interim ordinance approved last year by the City Council have drawn protests from McDonald's Corp. and Jack-in-the-Box's parent company, Foodmaker Inc., whose officials say the city's actions are illegal.

The city attorney has said both fast-food giants would have strong cases in court because retroactively applying the restrictions to older restaurants may interfere with their property rights.

Still, passage is all but assured because the council has unanimously backed Silverman and her fellow protesters in a series of hearings and votes during the past year.

The Planning Commission did not have the votes to pass the measure Wednesday because two commissioners were absent and Chairman Tom Pyne voted against it. But Councilwoman Pam O'Connor said the council strongly favors the change.

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