The Ashland Planning Commission recommends loosening restrictions on downtown drive-thru windows — despite testimony from former city officials that drive-thrus promote an auto-centric culture and should fade away.
The commission voted Tuesday to recommend allowing the four downtown banks with grandfathered drive-thru windows to relocate or remodel without losing their ability to operate the drive-thrus. The commission's recommendation is scheduled to go before the City Council on July 17.
The legal change is being championed by the Ashland Food Co-op, which hopes to persuade Umpqua Bank next door to move so that the popular, crowded grocery store can expand its parking lot.
As the law stands now, Umpqua would find it almost impossible to get approval to bring along its drive-thru if it moved to another location.
"It's just a convenience of our auto-centric culture that we promote things like this," said Commissioner Michael Dawkins, who was the only one to vote against the change. "We should try to eliminate all drive-thrus and have people get out of their cars."
I had Michael Dawkins on the northwest show today to talk about his views. He claims to be a libertarian in favor of freedom of choice. It would appear that he is in favor of that freedom, as long as people are choosing his choice.