Drive-throughs vex TRPA heads
May 29, 2003
KINGS BEACH — The 1987 ban on the construction of drive-throughs at Lake Tahoe Basin is not going anywhere anytime soon.
The Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday decided not to ask its staff to explore the issue any further. The decision came after staff presented information that indicated air quality, traffic and aesthetics at the basin would become worse if the ban is lifted.
Hal Cole, a South Lake Tahoe city councilman and member of the Governing Board, put a spotlight on the drive-through issue on behalf of Tahoe Valley Pharmacy in South Lake Tahoe. The owner of the pharmacy says a drive-through at his business makes sense and is needed.
City Councilman Tom Davis, who often sits in for Cole on the Governing Board, supported a re-examination of the ban asking agency staff to produce a report containing up-to-date science to justify the building regulation.
“I would argue going to a restaurant is discretionary,” Cole said. “But going to a pharmacy for medicine is not. (The drive-through would be) not just for handicapped. It’s for single moms, sick people and in the winter when it’s icy.”
The acting chairman of the Governing Board, Wayne Perock, of Carson City, rejected Cole’s argument. He said any business owners who believe they require a drive-through should first try teaming up with other businesses to provide a home delivery service. Or they should apply for a permit from the agency.
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Jon-Paul Harries, program director at the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said the agency has better things to do than revisit the ban.
“We’re frustrated this issue is before us and the bike and pedestrian master plan are on hold while we debate this issue,” Harries told the board. “This issue doesn’t seem to be all in the interest of what TRPA is trying to do.”
“I agree with Jon,” Perock said. “We’ve got better things and higher priorities to deal with than drive-up windows.”
Cole clearly was frustrated by the Governing Board’s response to the staff report.
“I’ll pass your comments on to my constituents,” Cole told Perock.
“Don’t give them my phone number,” replied Perock.