Friday, August 31, 2007

New downtown BK before council - with a drive thru!?!

Next Monday, council will be deliberating whether or not to accept the cities Planning Advisory Committee's (PAC's) recommendation to allow Burger King to construct it's new restaurant (which will replace it's existing restaurant on the N/E corner of Wyandotte and Goyeau, in anticipation of expropriation for an enlarged tunnel plaza) where the old Top Hat Supper club used to sit. In it's plans for the site is a drive through. I don't know whether you agree or not, but there is a movement gaining strength that limits/bans drive thus being built within city limits throughout North America and Europe. And seeing how this is a downtown location, a drive thru is probably not in the best interest of a downtown on the verge of renewal. Cars and pedestrians mix as well as oil and water.

Now, I have no objections to Burger King opening up a new restaurant downtown. If you chose to eat this junk, that's purely up to you. I do have a problem, however, with the fact that these current plans include a drive thru.

PAC has lost any credibility with this file as it approved the previous plans, which then got shot down by council for aesthetic reasons. Then BK tried to make the restaurant prettier and more fitting to it's downtown location and they approved it again. Is there anything they won't allow in our downtown?

Phone your councilor, or get listed as a delegate (because there IS still time, much to the chagrin of my calendar-challenged mind!) and let them know that this is not the direction you believe the city should go. Here's the notice posted on the City Of Windsor website.

Council Agenda for the Monday September 10, 2007 Windsor City Council Meeting 3rd floor, Council Chambers, Windsor City Hall

PAC 1 Burger King Restaurant, rezoning, southwest corner of University Avenue East and Goyeau Street, construct a Burger King Restaurant with a drive-through window on the site (proposed elevations)


Josh Biggley said...

Umm, Topher -- you really must have some real confidence in our elected officials if you expect them to meet on labour day. I think you are missing a week on your calender --- the meeting is for September 10th -- you can still get in to speak on this one.


Anonymous said...

At one time there was a committee to look at what could be done with the Windsor Armories. I believe this site is next to the Armories. This pretty much negates some of the ideas that tied this site in with the Armories study. Another bad decision and poor planning by the City.

Topher Holt said...

Daft? Yeah - that can be me sometimes. Thanks for the heads up, Josh. I took out my rant from the end of that blog. I'll save it for when it's actually true :)

Topher Holt said...

Anonymous - do you have any insight into this committee and their objectives for the Armories building? If so, let us know please? I think the city really needs to adopt an overall vision for our downtown, and conflicts like the one you've mentioned should be held high. I don't think our councilors even know what's going on sometimes, and they need to be reminded.

Shawn Micallef said...

In Toronto they have banned Drive Thur's in the dense parts of the city. There was a big community fight with a McDonalds a few years ago up on St. Clair -- community won.

BK knows what they're getting into, but they probably know what cities have weak councils that would never take leadership in this area.

Anonymous said...

Council won't let this one pass - there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Burger King's drive-thru is grandfathered .
The city has no plans.
However you must ask why is there a steering committee for private property ?

Anonymous said...

Topher re: Committee

See the Planning Departments Web Page

The committee met regarding ideas for the Armories. Unfortunately there were two main groups that controlled the meetings. Those who wanted the Armories for the Windsor Symphony and those who wanted it for a City museum and archive. (Both sent large factions to the meetings) While I did not discount either as a use the purpose was to come up with various ideas. The thought was could the Theaters on Oullette, Armories, Freedom Way and the Top Hat(Drakich) property be combined for a mixed use Facility or some sort of Anchor Project. They talked of closing down Freedom Way. I think the purpose was to determine zoning and design requirements etc for the area. Much like the City Center west only on a smaller scale. I'm sure none of the ideas included a BK.

Kevin Alexander at the Planning department ran the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. The armouries is a private real estate holding, isn't it? Then why is the city pursuing a municipal committee structure (organized and staffed by city administration) to determine it's future?

Are other downtown landholders offered the same kind of business help or are we subsidizing a select group of people and screwing others?

Anonymous said...

The Armouries is owned by the City of Windsor. However I do agree the City should be doing more to help all aspects of/in the downtown. Unfortunately the BIA is limited in what it can do. I feel we were doing better when we had The Downtown Revitalization Task Force and The BIA.

Boomer (Steve Biro) said...

I think we need to call or write our councillors and let them know that there is no place for drive thru's in the core of the city or anywhere else for that matter.

They add nothing to the local community and can only run at cost and detriment to the surrounding nieghbourhoods they are located in as due to higher amounts of traffic and pollution created by such short sighted development. And on top of the obvious costs drive thrus must also contribute heavily to obesity as well which is now the number one cost to the health care system in Canada.

As far as grandfathering goes I believe that would apply to an existing location but we are talking about completely new development here and if Burger King wants to close it's current location then that's their decision to make and we shouldn't have to accommodate them regarding the drive thru issue.

That would be the equivalent of saying that new similar developments don't have to include bicycle racks simply because they never had them before. The reality is that even when major modifications are made to an existing business that it now falls under the new development code and requires bicycle racks.

So if there is a partial or full moratorium on drive thru's in the core of the city then that should be adhered to as this would fall under new development. And if there is no such moratorium and it is up to our councillors to decide in their great wisdom then they should also choose not allow a drive thru for this new development based on the of the community and the impact to it.

I have yet to hear that a drive thru has any beneficial impact to anyone other than the owners of said drive thru or possibly the oil industry and should thus be judged accordingly and deemed unnecessary in a livable community.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the City buying the old BK site for expansion of the Tunnel Lands/Plaza?

Anonymous said...

Sorry I should have wrote.....Doesn't the City NEED the BK site for the expansion of the Tunnel Lands/Plaza?

Anonymous said...

From what I gather, the city will be expropriating the current BK site in anticipation of an expanded tunnel plaza.

Topher Holt said...

This just reported in the "Heard On The Streets" section of the September BizX magazine...

Burger King is coming back to City
Council on September 10th, seeking arezoning of the old Top Hat Supper Club property to allow a drive - thru restaurant. City Council rejected the waiver of its downtown drive-thru ban in a previous application, but the chain has made some changes to its site plan, most notably receiving permission from the Street and Alley Committee to close the adjoining alley that connects the Top Hat with the Tim Hortons’ drive-thru, directly south on Goyeau St reet. The BK fast food joint is to be situated closer to University Avenue with parking set farther back. A parking lot with
25 spaces will act as the only buffer between the fast food restaurant and the old Armouries, a heritage building. Council
passed a bylaw a few years ago grandfathering drive - thrus in the downtown area. The Council majority is expected to forgo its environmental principles in this case, since the city needs the property housing the existing Burger King at the northeast corner of Wyandotte and Goyeau, to facilitate the future expansion of the Detroit - Windsor Tunnel plaza.

Anonymous said...

The current site plan requires relief from the Committee of Adjustment. Topher are you aware if this has already been granted?

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Folks the Top Hat had sevveral offers and a few were not restaurants but all were chased away by the city.
So who is the city really serving, the public or special interests ?