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Proposal in St. Paul could limit fast food drive-thrus at new developments

St. Paul considers fast food drive-thru ban
St. Paul considers fast food drive-thru ban 01:52

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A proposal could pump the brakes on drive-thru fast food in Minnesota's capitol city.

St. Paul is looking at a range of options, possibly including a complete ban.

City planner Bill Dermody says the service model doesn't align with the city's plan, as the long-term plan for new development is to make the city more pedestrian and transit-oriented.

"Drive-thrus are, generally speaking, contrary to that," Dermody said. 

At a public hearing Friday, people in the restaurant and hospitality industry pushed back, citing a loss of revenue.

"This amendment would take away that choice from a customer who, let's be honest, is just going to drive to the next city to get what they need," said a hospitality industry advocate.

Others, however, gave it the green light.

"Get rid of drive-thrus, support small businesses, equity, safety, walkability, climate action, we can do that in St. Paul," said a speaker at Friday's public hearing. 

City leaders are looking at a range of options including new design standards, which could mean increasing queuing lengths, more room for cars to back up and safer pedestrian connections to the sidewalk along the street.

Dermody says they're even looking to Minneapolis, which banned new drive-thru facilities within city limits in 2019.

August will be the earliest the planning commission will make recommendations to the full council.

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