BURBANK — The City Council voted Tuesday to extend a ban on drive-up windows for another 10 months, but members said they expect to develop requirements for the popular feature of fast-food restaurants well before that period is over.
Mayor Dave Golonski said he favors requiring conditional-use permits for restaurants that want the windows and instructed his staff to research how much labor and cost would be involved in processing them.
"This way, before we take 10 months to solve the whole problem, we can look at permits on a case-by-case basis," Golonski said.
The ban-extending ordinance passed 4-0 on an issue that has forced city officials to conduct a delicate balancing act between helping small businesses and protecting residents' privacy.
"I wonder what this is saying to businesses who want to come my building or Burbank," Susan Segal, owner of the Alameda Street property that prompted the controversial moratorium, said at Tuesday night's public hearing on the issue.
"I hope you can provide a clear-cut vision of what kind of business can be put on my property at the end of this thing," Segal said, who drove from her home in Northern California to attend the hearing.
The city placed the ban on drive-up windows last July when neighbors near Segal's property at Alameda Avenue and Ontario Street--occupied by the popular family-owned restaurant, Juicy Harvey's--started a petition drive to prohibit the sale of the landmark hamburger stand to Burger King.
They also called and wrote letters to Burbank officials to voice their fears that a well-known fast food restaurant with a drive-up window would saturate the small lot with customer traffic.
"I have heard what happens when a small enterprise is taken over by a large national chain," said Sandra Vinger, a resident who lives across the alley from Juicy Harvey's and who started the petition drive. "This lot cannot handle the traffic."
Although city officials admit that they don't know how many more cars would line up for drive-through service at a Burger King compared with the number now lining up at Juicy Harvey's, they do know that several fast-food chains in the city have caused traffic problems.
City officials emphasized that they are not targeting Juicy Harvey's or its landlord, Segal, with the moratorium, but addressing a larger problem in the city. Last year, neighborhood opposition quashed plans for Jack-In-The-Box to take over Juicy Harvey's, demolish two neighboring homes and expand the parking lot.
It will take about four months to develop the requirements for drive-up windows, including a minimum number of parking spaces that a restaurant must have for cars waiting in line for service, according to a city report.
"The council is uncomfortable and wants this done quickly," said Councilman Ted McConkey. "We don't want to prolong it the full 10 months."
"We are responding to the needs of the neighborhood," added Councilman Bob Kramer. "Hopefully we can resolve our concerns and the project can go forward."