Controversial downtown Yakima drive-thru denied
Sep 11, 2012 (Menafn - Yakima Herald-Republic - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --A developer's request for a downtown drive-thru was denied Monday by city planners, who determined the proposed design near the intersection of Second Street and Yakima Avenue would likely be unsafe for both drivers and pedestrians.
The proposal, by Yakima real estate agent Chris Waddle's Hogback Development company, sparked some controversy because of reports that Waddle was courting Starbucks as the chief tenant. Critics contended the traffic volume would be too high to mix well with other users at a key downtown intersection.
If Waddle wants to continue with the project, he would have to either appeal the city's finding within 14 days or submit a new application with additional information regarding the appropriateness of a drive-thru at that location. The matter could ultimately land before the City Council.
Waddle did not immediately return a phone message left late Tuesday afternoon. He has said he cannot confirm tenants under consideration for the space, which is currently a privately owned park.
The city last month announced that Hogback had applied for a zoning variance to allow the drive-thru to be placed 76 feet from the Second Street intersection with Yakima Avenue. Typically, a drive-thru must be 100 feet or more from intersections.
"The proximity of the driveway to the existing adjacent building and between the proposed building creates an unexpected driveway location for pedestrians approaching this location," the city said in its denial. "This situation would contribute to a potentially hazardous pedestrian environment."
No physical barriers are present to prevent a left turn onto Second Street, creating the opportunity for unsafe driving, according to the denial.
The city further found that the proposed drive-thru did not match well with surrounding businesses on the north side of Yakima Avenue, which depend on pedestrians and have limited street parking. The proposed drive-thru would force the loss of at least four street parking stalls and a street tree, as well as possibly discouraging pedestrians from traveling to businesses east of the drive-thru.
--Mark Morey can be reached at 509-577-7671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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