The McDonald’s in Camino Real Marketplace will be getting a drive-through, after the Goleta Planning Commission approved the add-on — which the owner has been vying for since 1997 — with a 3-2 vote on Monday. The permit was granted after a public hearing in which those in support (citing the convenience) and in opposition (noting increased traffic and greenhouse gas emissions) turned out in equal measure.
Along with the drive-through, the permit will also require crosswalk striping from Storke Road into the shopping center as well as a pedestrian pathway. The median currently in place at the Storke entrance will be extended to prevent immediate left-hand turns into the Home Depot parking area, as well as left-hand turns from the McDonald’s parking area onto Marketplace Drive; traffic engineers said the extension will prevent cars from backing up at the entrance. Figures presented to the commission showed that traffic increases would be minimal — 131 more trips to the Marketplace on top of the current 10,000 daily visits — and air pollution from idling cars would be less than that generated by cars restarting. The commission also added a stipulation limiting the 204-foot long queue to 13 cars at a time.
In arguing for the drive-through permit, David Peterson, the owner of several area McDonald’s restaurants, including the one in question, said his intent was not to garner new customers but to capitalize on customers already in the shopping center. Commissioners Meg West and Julie Kessler Solomon both voted against the permit, with West saying she worried about what would happen if the impacts are greater than projected and Solomon adding that the traffic estimate “really begs belief.” No specific completion date for the drive-through is yet available.