WATSONVILLE—Drive-thrus will be back on the Watsonville City Council’s menu at Tuesday’s meeting.
The council will hear an appeal of a Planning Commission decision from late last year that stopped the development of a proposed business park at Main Street and Auto Center Drive.
Boos Development Group, Inc. was seeking a special use permit so that it could construct two drive-throughs alongside roughly 20,000 square feet of new commercial space on the 3.05-acre site at 975-1075 Main St.—the former home of Mi Ranchito Supermercado and Taqueria Mundial. But the Planning Commission unanimously voted against the project because of the city’s ongoing struggles with obesity and pedestrian/cyclist safety.
“This town doesn’t really have a fast-food problem or caffeine problem, it’s got a housing problem, and it’s got a vehicle vs. pedestrian and vehicle vs. bicyclist problem,” then Vice-Chair Matthew Jones said during the early-December meeting.
The project called for the new commercial space to be spread out over three one-story buildings of varying sizes. The proposal featured multiple shops and restaurants with outdoor seating for customers, as well as a trio of bike racks and 143 parking spaces.
It also included upgrades to the existing pedestrian and cyclist trail in front of the lot that leads down Main Street to Ramsay Park.
That vote spurred a proposed temporary ban on new drive-thrus that failed via a 5-2 vote at a City Council meeting last month.
Mayor Rebecca Garcia and Councilman Francisco “Paco” Estrada voted for the ban, but their peers did not believe drive-thrus created a current and immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 4:30 p.m.