Foodservice Equipment Reports

How Close Is Too Close For A Drive-Through In Toronto?

Just how close can a drive-through unit be to a residence? A legislative battle won last fall in Toronto to restrict that distance is now being challenged by some of the world’s largest fast-food chains.

According to the Toronto Metro, A&W Restaurants,  McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s/Arby’s Group and Canada’s own Tim Hortons are working with the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association to appeal the changes to drive-through regulations in Toronto’s new amalgamated zoning bylaw. The appeal could be heard as early as this summer.

The city passed the original bylaw in 2002 after a local community group fought plans by McDonald’s to add a drive-through restaurant. The bylaw bans drive-throughs in any zone containing residential dwellings. In other zones, where drive-throughs were permitted, the lanes had to be 30 meters, or about 100 feet, from homes. Toronto successfully defended the regulations in ’04.

The amalgamated zoning bylaw passed last fall by the city council harmonized zoning across Toronto and the surrounding boroughs. The city says the bylaw contains only “minor tweaks” to drive-through regulations and it doesn’t understand the basis for the chains’ protest.

“We’re still trying to figure out what it is that they’re appealing. I just don’t know and I can’t speculate,” said Klaus Lehman, a city planning manager, told the newspaper.

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