Will Town Meeting Allow Drive-Thrus?

One resident came before the Planning Board last week with a citizen's petition that would allow drive-thru restaurants along Littleton Road if approved by Town Meeting.


At last week's Planning Board meeting, Westford resident Andre Lagasse presented a citizen's petition for the Oct. 15 Fall Town Meeting warrant asking for a change in Westford's zoning laws to allow drive-thru restaurants in land parcels zoned "Commercial Highway."

Currently, the only Commercial Highway zoned land parcels in Westford exist along the Littleton Road corridor.

The ban arose in the 1990s and remained despite a warrant article hoping to overturn it failed in 1998.

Lagasse cited health issues for his petition, noting that slipped on the pavement during a winter day when he was trying to get coffee, and that he would not have done so if he had been able to purchase the coffee from his truck.

He also noted that other senior citizens like himself have had issues with walking into fast food restaurants during inclement weather.

At last night's Board of Selectmen meeting, Selectman Bob Jefferies said the original prohibition came due excessive trash coming from fast food restaurants using drive-thrus while Selectman Jim Sullivan said he disagreed with the rule on the basis that it was inconvenient to families.

The Planning Board opted to continue the hearing until Oct. 1, but today we want your opinion: should Westford allow restaurants to have drive-thru windows?

CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION: The petitioner's name is Andre, not Andrew. Also, the drive thru prohibition is just for restaurants.

Melissa September 26, 2012 at 02:27 PM
People come in from off the highway anyway. Drive thrus will get them out of town faster!
Melissa September 26, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Mothers with kids, dads in a hurry to grab dinner for the family, teens on crutches, grandma with her walker... These are all people that would benefit from a drive-thru. Not only because they have to get out and walk, but they also have to carry everything out to the car without spilling it (on crutches, with a car seat, etc.). And imagine anyone in a wheelchair, what they have to do to get the wheelchair out of the car, get in the wheelchair, etc. I've been in a wheelchair, I've had the baby in a carrier. I drove out of town to get a coffee or pick up dinner, every time.
Heather September 26, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Yes....but only for Starbucks.
Elaine McKenna September 26, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Yes, they should allow drivethroughs. Pretty much for the same reasons as stated above. Moms with a car full of kids, elderly, folks with disabitities. I really don't believe that it will cause extra trash which was an earlier argument.
Dick September 26, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yes!! Its nice for the working guy/gay who has been working on a dirty job at home,or for a living, that needs a quick bite
Steve Germann September 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Sooner or later we won't have to get out of our car for anything. How lazy is this world getting. I slipped coming out of church once, what about drive thru churches and bars!!
Jonas September 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM
The elite upscale Westford of the 90s is so far in the rear view mirror why not, with 2 Market Baskets what's the use, we really are the new-next Billerica
Fitz Knacker September 26, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Tax the drive throughs so we can afford to pay our teachers a competitive salary next contract negotiation in a year and retain what we can of our strong school system
Sam September 26, 2012 at 08:29 PM
No offense Mike. Westford is a nice town, but what I hate is the snobbery involved with calling another town "dumpy". Westford has it's issues as does any town but putting down a neighboring town because it doesn't meet your elite standards is wrong.
Sam September 26, 2012 at 08:50 PM
" Billerica is a dumpy town" How would you describe the comment
Boda Zeifah September 26, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Westford moved to the DCL was partially motivated by the reality it considered CC, LS and AB to be its peers and not Ayer and Chelmsford, let me tell you Westford is more like Chelmsford and Ayer than DCL towns! Pretentious and Westford go hand and hand
Anne Shirley September 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I agree with Melissa. Take McDonald's, for an example. People traveling down the highway who are unfamiliar with the area looking for fast food will just follow the signs there. I don't think most of them will drive back onto the highway looking for a McDonald's with a drive through.
Vincent DiRico September 27, 2012 at 01:03 AM
ha ha ha, this one takes 1st place ;)
Melissa September 27, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Showing my ignorance here... What's a DCL town? I get your drift, but what does it mean?
Brian September 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Dual County League (referring to sports league)
Tracy L LeBlanc September 27, 2012 at 02:59 AM
http://sierraclub.typepad.com/mrgreen/2009/02/advice-about-recreational-eating-.html "What is the global-warming impact of the drive-through? ...In drive-throughs idling is the devil's workshop. Every hour you idle, you waste up to 0.7 gallons of gas... it pays to turn your engine off if you're going to be still for more than 30 seconds...In a given year, U.S. cars burn 1.4 billion gallons of fuel just idling. Collectively, we emit about 58 million tons of carbon dioxide while we're essentially doing nothing. Taking the fast-food industry as an example...the average McDonald's drive-through wait is 159 seconds...the company's consumers burn some 7.25 million gallons of gas each year...the entire U.S. fast-food industry? Roughly 50 million gallons." If the environment doesn't motivate you, how about the cost of gas wasted while idling?
Eagle! September 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Are u you serious....you should be concerned about china burning coal, not people getting coffee...Yes drive throughs....I actually think the disability angle is the idea.....legal fight is there...
joseph mcgruff September 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Tracy you can't be serious!? Every single time I ever needed a coffee/beverage or to dine out when my daughter was less than 1 1/2 years old I had to drive to Chelmsford or Groton to do so...and remind me how drive-thru Banks are any different than food and beverage companies in Westford? Only in Westford!
Girls Gone Sustainable September 28, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I am sorry but it is really sad that all of you who left a comment about having drive-thrus in Westford is a good idea. Tracy is right and everyone should start to think more about the environment we live in and for all our generations to come. Stop pointing the blame at others, such as China, and fix the mistakes we have created. Stop making more problems for this world! Not only is there the environmental factor but it proves that Americans are becoming more lazy and with increased obesity there shouldn't even be fast food restaurants, let alone drive thrus! Isn't this something we are trying to get the Westford schools to do?? Healthier food for our children, and now we have parents taking their children out to drive thru fast food restaurants outside of school?? Yes before you comment I have taken children out of the car and into shops, grocery stores, etc and it's not that difficult. Get up and be active and stop questioning whether or not we should have drive thru fast food restaurants, just get the fast food out of Westford and bring back healthy family meals!
normal guy September 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Girls Gone Sustainable - Your comment is the type of pretentious attitude that pervades this entire area. Why do you think that you know better then anyone else? I agree with you in principle but the reality is these things exist because the majority of people want them. They are not hurting you or anyone else. People are just going to take their business elsewhere where there is a drive through if that is what they need. I know this, because I do! And before you get on your high horse about Westford doesn't need these businesses anyway, remember who pays most of the property taxes in town and that we do need jobs. We all do. Yes, there should be oversight and moderation but the broad stroke statements that you are making don't speak for me or my family. We are not obese, we do get out of the car to go in but there are times when it is very convenient to have a drive through. Also, we eat home cooked food at home at the dinner table every night of the week save one. Where I choose to eat is not the issue here. Thank you for letting me know what I should and should not do. I had no idea how I was going to manage myself when I got up this morning.
Melissa September 28, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Right on!
Wayne Wagner October 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Due to the lack of the Drive-Thru access, we pretty much bring our fast food restaurant business to the Drum Rotary in Chelmsford, even though the commercial strip in Westford is probably closer to us. It is all a matter of convience when you have to shuffle the kids out and back in the car. Add bad weather, and that just adds to the desire to do the drive-thru. We most likely use more gas and emit more of the resulting fumes from going the extra distance than, if we to idle at the McD in Westford. Would like to support the local tax base via more Westford restaurant visits. BUT... we gotta do what we gotta due to make it through a typical busy day.
katie October 01, 2012 at 06:14 PM
This is probably one of the best reactions to a comment yet. No one should be telling anyone else how to eat, what to eat, where to eat it or how to obtain it. It's bigger than just drive thrus as well. Look at what's going on in schools right now. By limiting the choices and requiring what someone else defines as "healthy options" you're not teaching kids to CHOOSE the right option, you're making the decision for them. Is that right???? You want to "get the fast food out of Westford" but just remember, when you pick up your morning coffee at Starbucks or DD, that counts. That's not good for you either. Or when your kid needs his first job, the Market Basket and fast food places that everyone seems to hate are the some of the only places your high school student is going to earn a paycheck.
Dan D. October 01, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Perfect response "normal guy". It is astounding how people like the "Girls" want to deny the right and freedom to choose to other people because the "Girls" know better.
Cynthia October 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I'm with you Steve Germann. Get up, out and walk. Two thirds of Americans are overweight. It's not convenience it's laziness. Anyone getting off the highway to eat or drink needs to get out of their car and move. They may spend more while they're here and all of Westford benefits, business, taxes paid to the town, individuals jobs.
don October 04, 2012 at 07:06 PM
i think it is the right thing to do. do it for the elders and disabled
joseph mcgruff October 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Steve and Cynthia you can watch Mass on the Cathoic Channel and Colonial Spirits in Acton will deliver...All elders, disabled and parents with kids should be locked inside their hospices, wheelchairs and mobile homes forever
concernedresident March 19, 2013 at 08:10 PM
We already have drive thru ATMs and bank windows. How is a restaurant different?
Sam March 19, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Because to the straw hats a bank is not the great satan... McDonalds.


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