Wareham Planning Board learns ban is driving away business

Jan 9, 2018

After hearing that several businesses have withdrawn plans to open in Wareham, the Planning Board wants residents to weigh in on a drive-thru ban.

In place for the past seven years, the ban prohibits drive-thrus for new food-related businesses.

Drive-thrus for businesses such as banks and other non-food related businesses are allowed in the town’s general commercial district. That district stretches on both sides of Route 28 from the I-195 on-ramp to the area of Robertson’s Auto Salvage.

On Jan. 8, board members debated the ban, learning that it has driven away businesses.

“The property in front of Walmart has lost three potential clients because of this issue,” Selectman Alan Slavin, the town’s Planning Board liaison said. Slavin also noted that plans submitted in the spring for a Sonic Drive-In planned for East Wareham were withdrawn due to the ban.

Director of Planning and Community Development Kenneth Buckland said he was aware of restaurants that had considered opening in East and West Wareham, only to pull out in face of the ban.

Removing the ban requires a vote at Town Meeting. The request came from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Board members were reluctant to move the bylaw change forward on Monday, saying more information was required.

A public hearing seeking comments from residents, whether they are in favor or against the ban, will be announced at a later date.