Palm Desert to consider allowing drive-through restaurants near HWY 111

Olivia Sandusky


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Drive-through restaurants are found in almost every Coachella Valley city, e
xcept for the heart of Palm Desert.

“It was a way to, in the minds of the council who made these decisions, be environmentally conscious, to make sure they weren’t contributing to air pollution or to trash,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik, Palm Desert.

The restriction has been an on-going conversation for the council over the last few years, as other cities expand drive-through options.

Locally, residents are divided over the issue, citing several pros and cons. 

“I‘m sure there are locations where it would effect the traffic and all that stuff,” said Ata Yazizi, Palm Desert.

“You know, we need something quick, fast, always there for us, and drive-throughs are just the most convenient thing,” said Chris Curieo, Palm Desert.

At the council meeting on Thursday at 4 pm, the city will consider lifting a ban on drive-through businesses near HWY 111.

“It was brought forward by a developer. The developer has asked for consideration and a hallmark of the city is to listen to everyone. So we’ll bring it back for complete discussion,” said Harnik.

Several residents, including business owners, have already submitted public comment on the agenda item.

Those comments can be found here. 

If approved, new zoning districts and standards would be created.

Some residents say the change would be welcome in a pandemic-friendly world.

“Especially in COVID, I‘d really rather go through a drive-through then go in somewhere,” said Sherry Styles, Rancho Mirage. 

May Pro Tem Harnik says there has been a lang standing discussion about the issue among the community, and all comments will be considered at the meeting.

“It’s always been a very vibrant discussion, and of course, the council has different views. We listen to our restaurants, we listen to our other business owners and we listen to our community members about what is there idea of Palm Desert,” said Harnik.

Public comment may be received from the time the agenda is posted up until the conclusion of the meeting.

Comments can be sent to:

E-mails received prior to 12 noon on the day of the City Council meeting will be made part of the record and distributed to City Council.

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