Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo may approve restaurant drive-throughs on West Bay Drive

The McDonald’s on West Bay is driving the change. A rebuilt restaurant needs a code change to reinstate its drive-through.


The McDonald’s on West Bay is driving the change. A rebuilt restaurant needs a code change to reinstate its drive-through.

LARGO — The McDonald's near the intersection of the Pinellas Trail and West Bay Drive looks like any other. Golden arches? Check. Posters alerting young children to the latest Happy Meal toys? Check. (Alvin and the Chipmunks, in case you're wondering.) Drive-through window? Check.

There is something unique about this McDonald's, built in 1993, though: It's the only restaurant with a drive-through window in the city's designated downtown development area.

Pharmacies and banks can have drive-through windows along West Bay Drive, but restaurant drive-throughs are forbidden. The McDonald's at 1250 West Bay Drive is grandfathered in since it was there before the rules were adopted in 2002.

The restaurant drive-through ban could change soon, however, if the City Commission follows through on a staff recommendation to allow them along West Bay Drive. Approval would be conditional — any restaurant wanting a drive-through would need to get an okay from city advisory boards. That allayed the concerns some commissioners had about the impact on downtown Largo.

"I would have a hard time with a drive-through in the downtown core there," Mayor Pat Gerard said at a commission meeting last month. "That's not what we want there. With a conditional use, though, we can approve it or deny it."

McDonald's is the reason for the change. The company wants to tear down its West Bay Drive restaurant and rebuild, according to Robert Klute, Largo's assistant community development director. Any new building along West Bay Drive would have to conform to city code, so McDonald's is barred from rebuilding its drive-through unless the city changes its rules and grants the restaurant approval.

Colleen Murray, city planning technician, explained to commissioners how the staff's vision for West Bay Drive has changed since the development rules were put in place in 2002.

"If a restaurant drive-through is well designed, does not take up a place between the building and the street where pedestrians should be given priority, and provides the appropriate buffers to nearby residences, there's no reason to prohibit them," Murray said.

Commissioners mostly agreed with Murray's assessment. While Gerard didn't like the idea of drive-throughs anywhere else on West Bay Drive except for the McDonald's, Commissioner Woody Brown said he'd be okay with other drive-throughs.

The drive-through amendment is scheduled to go before the Planning Board and Community Development Advisory Board this month. Klute said it will get back to the City Commission for a first reading on Jan. 17.

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Largo may approve restaurant drive-throughs on West Bay Drive 01/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 4:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.