Planning Commission to Discuss Approval Process of Drive-Thru Restaurants in Downtown Turlock

Brandon McMillan/

At the behest of Turlock City Council, the Turlock Planning Commission will review and possibly recommend changing the process restaurants in Downtown Turlock will go through if they wish to have a drive-thru.

Currently, drive-through restaurants wishing to build in the Downtown Transitional Commercial Overlay Zone, which encompases the four areas of Downtown Turlock adjacent to Main Street, Golden State Boulevard, and Lander Avenue, must get a minor discretionary permit.

Minor discretionary permits only require the approval of City of Turlock administration and only adjacent parcels are notified of the application.

On Tuesday, Planning Commission will consider recommending drive-thru facilities in the above mentioned area of Downtown Turlock be required to file a conditional use permit, which would require the proposed facilities go before Planning Commission before being approved.

“The goal of the request is to ensure that the Planning Commission has an opportunity to review the request and provide the public more opportunity to participate in the decision-making process,” reads the staff report.

In June of 2014, a McDonald’s at 300 and 311 S. Golden State Blvd. and 250 E. Marshall St. in Downtown Turlock was approved at a City level. The fast food restaurant seemed to sneak under the radar for many Turlockers, even some councilmembers, when it was announced in April.

Due to the non-public approval of the McDonald’s, which ultimately fell through, Councilmember Steven Nascimento requested the process be reviewed.

“That project wasn’t well received by the community. A lot of folks felt like a drive-thru was not an appropriate use anywhere in the proximity of Downtown,” said Nascimento at the April 14 Council meeting. “I see that in the current update it remains an administrative approval. I have some personal concerns with drive-thru facilities near our Downtown. I just wondered if it might be more appropriate to make that a conditional use permit so that it does come before the Planning Commission at least and there is some public review of that."

In addition to going through the Planning Commission, a public notice sign would be posted on the property, a public notice would be published in local newspapers, property owners within 500 feet would be directly notified, and a public hearing would be required.

On Thursday, the commission will also consider recommending requiring double-striping in parking lots, rather than it only being the “preferred” option, and “grandfathering” existing cargo containers in Downtown Turlock.

All three are being considered at the request of Turlock City Council, which approved the extensive zoning ordinance overhaul on April 14. Although Council unanimously approved the overhaul, they request staff and Planning Commission review some key items, rather than delaying the passage of the zoning ordinance, which has been in the works for years.

Planning Commission will also receive updates on:
The Stanislaus County Planning Commission review of the use permit for the Larsa Event Center.
A LAFCO agricultural mitigation policy amendment.
A shopping cart enforcement plan by the Neighborhood Services Division.
The Active Transportation Plan schedule.

Turlock Planning Commission will meet 6 p.m. Thursday in the Yosemite Room of City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.

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