CAPITOLA -- To drive-through or not to drive-through, that will be the question for the Capitola City Council when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at 420 Capitola Ave.
The request comes from the owners of the McDonald's at 1760 41st Ave., who want to update the 35-year-old fast-food restaurant and add a drive-through window.
"Of all the improvements, this is the one our customers are telling us they want the most," McDonald's USA construction manager Efrain Corona said in an August letter to the city.
City staff encouraged the remodel, but could not support a restaurant drive-up window, which is prohibited in the community commercial zoning district encompassing the 41st Avenue corridor and Bay Avenue from Highway 1 to Center Street.
Two other fast-food restaurants have drive-through windows.
Burger King on 41st Avenue was built before the property was annexed by the city, and Dairy Queen on Bay Avenue predates the zoning code ban and was "grandfathered" as a legal nonconforming use, according to senior planner Ryan Bane.
The zoning code does not prohibit drive-through windows for banks or pharmacies.
Several banks have drive-up windows and a drive-up window was approved for CVS pharmacy next to McDonald's, despite concerns about noise and vehicle exhaust.
Bane is asking the council to provide feedback to the property owner. He noted it's possible to limit drive-through windows to specific "community commercial" areas such as 41st Avenue north of Capitola Road.
Police Chief Rudy Escalante will present a report on potential regulations to curb smoking by minors. These include licensing tobacco retailers, extending the smoking ban to rental housing, and break areas and patios of commercial locations, and limiting locations where tobacco can be sold.
A survey in 2010 found 18 percent of stores in Capitola were willing to sell tobacco to minors compared to 27 percent countywide.
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