Claremont Ordinance Would Allow Drive-Thrus

The City of Claremont’s Planning Commission unanimously approved a drive-through ordinance Tuesday.

The ordinance, which the City Council will consider Mar. 9, would allow drive-through facilities for banks and pharmacies in specific areas of Claremont.

If the City Council passes the ordinance, it will allow a Fresh and Easy Market and a Walgreens drugstore with a drive-up service window to be built at the Peppertree Center at the corner of Indian Hill Boulevard and Arrow Highway. In addition, the ordinance would allow the construction of a new bank with a drive-up ATM at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Mountain Avenue.

Commissioner K.M. Williamson said the ordinance does not allow for the construction of conventional drive-thrus, such as those at fast food restaurants.

“For pharmacies and banks, you’re talking about a much smaller drive-thru context,” Williamson said. “You’re not going to have costumers wrapped around the building, you’re not going to have long and double-drive lanes, you’re not going to have several windows.”

In spite of the commission’s approval, some Claremont residents, specifically community groups like Protect Our Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area, oppose the ordinance. Ray Fowler, a representative for Protect Our Neighborhoods, expressed concern over the environmental impacts drive-thrus might produce.

“While everyone agrees on the need for a grocery and drugstore there, they do not agree that a drive-thru is right for traffic safety or air quality issues,” Fowler said, adding that since prescriptions are not taxed, the new pharmacy will generate little tax revenue for the city. In response to these objections, Williamson said she was “quite satisfied that there is no significant environmental air quality impact in allowing bank and pharmacy drive-thrus at these locations.”

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