The Palm Desert City Council voted Thursday to extend the ban on drive-thru’s at fast food restaurants on Highway 111.
This is the third time since February, the Council has considered lifting the ban. But in a 3-2 vote on Thursday, the Council voted to leave the ordinance in place.
Extend Opportunities Along I-10
While Palm Desert Extended the Ban on Hwy 111; the Council instructed staff to look at expanding areas in the north end of Palm Desert along I-10, where drive-thru’s are allowed.
Discussed a Modified Plan
As part of the review and discussion phase; the Council looked at allowing drive-thru’s in shopping centers with at least 15 acres. Just five centers would qualify, leading to push back from other fast food restaurant owners crying foul, saying what’s good for one should be good for all.
Local Restaurant Owners and Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce Agree
Case Hutchinson, owner of JC’s Cafe on El Paseo along with the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce voiced opposition to modifying the ban saying corporate fast food drive-thru’s would hurt locally owned restaurants struggling to recover from the pandemic and could drive them out of business.
If Palm Desert Extended the Ban, Franchises Would Seek New Locations Where Drive-Thru is Permitted
City leaders expressed concerns that existing non-drive-thru fast food franchises would become non-competitive as a result of modifying the ban. Mayor Kathleen Kelly said, “Those franchises would seek a new location where drive-thru is permitted and we would end up with several empty structures difficult to fill.”
Palm Desert Would Become Any Town So Cal
Mayor, Kathleen Kelly said allowing drive-thru’s on Hwy 111 would convert the area to “any town Southern California, Palm Desert would become indistinguishable from anyplace else.”
Mayor Kelly, Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnick and Councilmember Jonathan Sabby all voted to keep the ban in place, saying adding drive-thru’s would change the image of Highway 111 in Palm Desert.
Fast-Food Drive-Thru’s Compelling Arguments on Both Sides
They all agreed it was a difficult decision, saying “there are compelling arguments on both sides of the issue”, but for now, we won’t see drive-thru’s on Hwy 111 in Palm Desert any time soon. Palm Desert Extends Ban on Fast Food Drive Thru’s.
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