The Board of Aldermen unanimously asked its staff this month to draft a ban on all future drive-through windows except at pharmacies.
Most members of the board said they did not want any drive-through windows in Carrboro but said they wanted to hear more about pharmacy drive-throughs before making a final decision about them.
The amendment will not affect any of the seven businesses, including fast-food restaurants or banks. that currently have drive-through windows in Carrboro.
It will, however, apply to a proposed commercial development that was to include a bank with drive-through windows.
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In the discussion, several aldermen said that allowing a drive-through window at a pharmacy makes it accessible for seniors, people with handicaps or parents with sick children.
Randee Haven-O’Donnell said that although she personally wanted to ban all drive-through windows, she had been talking to people in the community who felt that having a drive-through window at a pharmacy was a matter of accessibility.
Single parents told her that if they had a sick child, it was very hard to bundle up a sick child and take the child into a drug store to get a prescription or medicine, she said.
Mayor Lydia Lavelle agreed.
“Maybe it’s because I have an 89-year-old dad, and I had a 5-year-old kid,” she said. “I see some of the points that Randee has about the pharmacies.”
“There’s no question about being able to go through a drive-through at odd hours to get something you need for someone who is sick without having to get out the car is an access issue,” she said.
Damon Seils opposed all drive-through windows and pointed out that Carrboro does not currently have a pharmacy with a drive-through window.
“I don’t know if there’s a need for it,” he said.
One local pharmacy delivers, and that could be a solution for people who can’t get out of their cars to go inside a pharmacy, he said.
It’s not all about the emissions from cars waiting in line at drive-throughs, he said.
“To me, the issue is a broader one about the pattern of development we want to see in our community,” Seils said.
Carrboro has been working to encourage compact developments and clustered developments with stores close by to encourage pedestrian and bicycle usage, he said.
“These values are reiterated over and over again in our planning documents,” Seils said.
In the end, they agreed to disagree and to decide the issue of drive-through windows at pharmacies after receiving more information.