Drive-thrus are driving leaders in Mansfield to stop letting fast food restaurants come into town, at least for now.
No matter where you go in Mansfield these days, it seems like something new is always popping up. Mayor David Cook says that's particularly been the case with fast food restaurants.
"We've had a significant increase in the number of organizations that are interested in putting fast food establishments in the city," said Cook.
He said while the city values that business, the sheer number of fast food restaurants is presenting some challenges, specifically when it comes to drive-thrus.
"They seem to be coming in clusters here in the city," said Cook. "So we want to make sure we address all types of traffic concerns. You have signage that needs to be addressed, just different issues."
On Monday, Cook and other city council members unanimously approved a four-month moratorium on all new food and beverage stores with drive-thrus.
The official resolution included the following concerns:
- "The entry and exit points to accommodate the drive through service lanes frequently result in curb cut access ways that create traffic hazards for vehicles moving along public roadways."
- "Drivers leaving food service windows are frequently distracted while checking orders or distributing food products and do not display the degree of caution necessary for vehicular operations when entering adjoining public roadways or passing through congested parking areas."
- "The packaging material used in the distribution of food service products from these establishments correlates with increased volumes of trash along public rights-of-way and thoroughfares lying in close proximity to the drive through food service establishments."
During the moratorium period, city staff will create guidelines for restaurants with drive-thrus.
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"We want to grow responsibly," said Cook.
Dallas-based John T. Evans Company, which has helped develop fast food restaurants in Mansfield, attended the city council meeting Monday to speak out against the moratorium.
Company leaders tell NBC 5 their relationship with the city has been a good one, and they look forward to continuing it. However, they feel that many of the concerns city leaders are raising could apply to any type of business and it seems like they're targeting fast food restaurants.
Cook said that's not the case.
"We're certainly not closing the door on fast food restaurants," said Cook. "I want to make that clear. That’s not our objective."
Any business that feels it's being unreasonably impacted by the moratorium can appeal to the city council for an exemption.
Cook said the city's planning department is reaching out to developers and will work with them during this process. Still, he said this is an "appropriate" step as Mansfield continues to grow.
The moratorium will not affect existing restaurants or any planned projects that have already been issued permits.