Local News

Carrborro may extend ban on drive-throughs

Posted April 1, 2014

— Elected leaders in Carrboro are considering a ban on the construction of new drive-through windows, saying it will make the community a better place to live.

“(We’re) trying to think about Carrboro in the next several decades. What is the vision we have for our community?” Alderman Damon Seils said Tuesday.

For Seils, that vision is one of a more pedestrian-friendly town where residents are less dependent on their cars.

Carrboro banned drive-through windows in its downtown area 15 years ago. If approved, the existing law would be amended to prohibit new drive-through windows from being built on restaurants, banks and possibly pharmacies through the entire town.

“The vitality of our downtown has been enhanced by things like not allowing more drive-throughs,” Seils said. “I would like to see that vitality spread throughout the community.”

The Board of Aldermen agreed last month to discuss the changes, which would not affect the town’s seven existing drive-throughs. An ordinance has not yet been drafted.

Not everyone is sold on the idea.

Resident Kassey Klause said rather than encouraging people to walk, the ban could lead to more driving.

“That would make us drive even farther up to Durham if we want Taco Bell,” she said.

Daniel Rodriguez is a professor of urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He said what the aldermen are trying to do may come across as self-righteous, but it’s a good idea.

“It’s OK to inconvenience ourselves a little to make the environment a little more walkable,” he said.

Seils said he is concerned about the possibility of banning drive-through windows at pharmacies because that would affect the elderly or those with limited mobility.

“That’s something we need to take seriously,” he said.

Seils said he’s heard from people on both sides of the proposed ban, and aldermen would like to get more feedback before making a decision.

“There’s no doubt that drive-throughs offer a certain kind of convenience, and that is a value to many people,” he said. “But we need to be discussing what other values are at stake here as well.”


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 3, 2014

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    If all that was true, and it's not, why would anyone want to live there? It boggles the mind, right? ;-)

    I mean, don't we all want to breathe other people's Class A carcinogenic smoke while we eat with our family in a restaurant...or walk down the public sidewalks...or wait at the bus shelter? What's a little cancer, eh?

    And, business need to be able to have all the multi-color, stroboscopic 10' by 10' signs on their business that they want...even if it looks like Vegas and would distract drivers. Profits over-ride everything, right?

    Many of your other references are NC laws.

    And personally, I would love for us to have the freedom that Europe has and be able to drink a beer or glass of wine while walking in public...or buy alcohol before noon on Sunday. both laws that were put in place by folks with Conservative (Puritanical) views. You're for repealing those, right?

  • carrboroyouth Apr 2, 2014

    The argument is illogical. I like the Wendy's in Carrboro on occasion. However, whether I go through the drive thru or go inside to order, I very likely still drove there. I'm a student: I don't have a lot of time or a lot of money and I think the citizens are plenty capable of making their own decisions of how they come by their food.

  • carrboroyouth Apr 2, 2014

    Dear haters: You could at least spell our town's name right. I'm against the ban, personally.

  • Christopher Rose Apr 2, 2014
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    Carborro has low unemployment because the unemployed can't afford to live there. PERIOD. It certainly isn't because they did something right. Where it not for the students there would be no economy as they oppose almost anything by ideology.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 2, 2014
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    It's still a nice place to live. Actually better during the summer when most of the students have gone home.

  • John Rees Apr 2, 2014
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    Carrboro bashers: We will really NOT miss you if you stay away. Don't worry. We really won't.

  • Brian Hill Apr 2, 2014
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    Students who are not looking for jobs (because they are living off of parents) do not count as "unemployed".

  • Bill Brasky Apr 2, 2014

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    Not to mention Orange county has the lowest unemployment rate in the state. Perhaps they are doing something right.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 2, 2014
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    I did a year in NJ after growing up in rural southern VA and have no desire to go back, thank you. I came back south for a good reason. We enjoy being an island of sanity in this messed up state.

    Also, you might want to check with the folks further north in Orange County. It's a different group up there.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 2, 2014
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    Or because we already enjoy a safe community with good schools, public transportation, etc.. There is a good reason for the high property values.