Boulder Planning Board to review Starbucks drive-thru plans

By|Oct 3, 2018|Industry News, Local Real Estate, News

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BOULDER — The Boulder Planning Board is set to review a proposal to turn a gas station site at Diagonal Highway and 30th Street into Boulder’s first Starbucks with a drive-thru.

The city received an email request from a resident asking the board to review the Starbucks plan prior to the project’s call-up deadline, which expired Thursday evening. That review is tentatively set for Nov. 15, according to city spokesperson Gretchen King.

Plans call for the construction a 2,000-square-foot Starbucks coffee shop with a single-lane drive-thru and indoor seating for more than 40 customers, Boulder planning documents show.

Critics of drive-thru lanes argue that they can encourage car usage rather than more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

“For the most part, drive-thru uses are not permitted in downtown zoning districts and typically require a Use Review in other business zones to evaluate whether the use is appropriate in the proposed location,” King said in an email.

The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, a document used by Boulder and Boulder County to guide development and land-use planning decisions, does not specifically prohibit drive-thrus, she said. However, “there are several policies that deemphasize use of the single-occupant vehicle and emphasize good pedestrian and bike connections and support for a variety of transportation modes.”

Starbucks representatives could not be reached for comment. But in documents submitted to city planners, agents for the coffee chain make the case for the drive-thru.

“The drive-thru is a complimentary use to a restaurant or coffee shop,” those documents say. “… This use is compatible with the adjacent commercial uses, including a bank with a multi-lane drive-thru, and is consistent with development patterns along busy roadways and at intersections and will have no negative impact on the use of nearby properties.”
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