Is Concord ready for fast food?

By Betsy Levinson - betsy@theconcordbridge.org

Town Meeting voters will have a chance to amend a 1981 prohibition on drive-through and fast food restaurants as a primary use at the annual Town Meeting.

“These operations generate noise, smells, lights and litter and often attract loiterers,” the article stated. The article highlighted traffic congestion as well.

“The primary intent of this (1981) article is to prohibit ‘attractive nuisances’ such as national chain fast-food operations,” the text said.

Fast forward to 2023, and a lot has changed.

“Many things have happened since 1981 that make the previous explanation obsolete and the prohibition on fast-food restaurants unwarranted and a hindrance to the economic vitality of the town’s commercial centers,” the warrant states.

Drive-in or drive-through restaurants will still be prohibited, citing evidence that a drive-through “creates parking and circulation issues that can significantly impact adjacent roadways.” In addition, the town adopted the “polystyrene prohibition” bylaw to cut down on littering, and a bylaw about lighting to curb light spillover onto adjacent properties.

According to a planning department document, “there is no evidence that a fast-food restaurant generates more or less traffic than a sit-down establishment.”

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