City OKs more drive-thru entries for eateries at River Road and 1450 South

The owners of the South Bridge Planned Development on the corner of River Road and 1450 South are working with city staff to explore the possibilities of increasing drive-thru access points. St. George, Utah, Aug. 31, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Weighing all the options for the past two weeks, the City Council of St. George has agreed to allow the potential of more drive-thru access points for restaurants on a portion of the South Bridge Planning Development, formally known as Boulder Creek Commons, at the intersection of River Road and 1450 South.

Artist rendering of the South Bridge Planned Development on the corner of River Road and 1450 South. | Rendering courtesy of City of St. George, St. George News

Currently, the southern portion of the property is limited to three drive-thru access points.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the council agreed to remove the restrictions and consider additional drive-up service access for future restaurants on a case-by-case basis.

The considerations are based on an agreed set of design standards with the applicant, Utah-based CapMarc LLC and Stillwater Equity Partners, that includes an established maximum number of cars waiting for drive-thru service, prohibiting the blocking of parking and loading spaces as well as limiting drive-thru access, not within 50-feet of a public intersection or entry point into the development.

City staff’s intentions are if there are more drive-thrus than anticipated, they will have minimal impact on adjacent businesses and residents. The standards established only apply to South Bridge and will not set a precedent for existing or future developments.

“Our best way to regulate these is for them to be in planned development zones so that there can be a discussion on each place that is coming,” said council member Dannielle Larkin.

By considering each drive-up window on a case-by-case basis, it creates more room for discussion, Larkin added.

Danielle Larkin was joined by family and friends during Monday’s city council swearing-in ceremony. St. George, Utah, Jan. 6, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

“This should help the neighbors. Now this is the last time they can come forward and speak about this issue,” Larkin said. “With each space that comes in, there will be an application for approval.”

According to the applicant, the demand for drive-thru access has increased because of dine-in restraints associated with the impacts of COVID-19.

According to documents submitted to the city, Stillwater believes that allowing more drive-thru access will “help this project move forward in a positive direction as it will benefit the community, the businesses that look to locate here, and ultimately, the city.”

When originally considered by the city Planning Commission, and approved by the City Council on Jan. 7, 2016, the development was limited to three drive-thru access points on the larger south side of the property with no restrictions on the north side along 1450 South.

“There has been so much of a surge in drive-thrus and COVID has made this much worse,” said Mayor Jon Pike. “This is something we cannot ignore, we have to deal with … but what we know is we can’t have some of the problems we’ve had on other locations.”

Pike pointed out FiiZ Drinks as a drive-up window that has caused public safety issues in the past.

“We have to deal with them and that’s what we are trying to do with this one before the problems hit,” Pike added.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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