The third time may be the charm for a long-awaited drive-thru window at the Elden Street Burger King.
Twice before, previous town councils have denied Ben Jarratt's application to add a drive-thru lane to his Herndon fast food restaurant.
Tuesday night, the planning commission voted six to one to recommend Jarratt's application for a conditional use permit.
Commission members seemed satisfied with the applicant's latest steps to mitigate traffic and noise concerns. In his application, Jarratt has proposed constructing a new street, "Baker Place," which is currently an abandoned town right-of-way. The estimated $200,000 cost of the project will be funded entirely by Jarratt. In addition, Jarratt will close the current restaurant entrances on Van Buren and Grant streets.
As he has in previous debates on the issue, Jarratt insists that a drive-thru window is vital to his restaurant's future viability. "He's a businessman in this town and he needs this to make the restaurant work," his lawyer said. "It may not have worked before, but it works now."
Several town residents spoke in favor of the permit, including Bernie Miller. Miller read a laundry list of Herndon stores and restaurants that have come and gone since she moved to Van Buren Street in 1996. "Now don't take my Burger King away from me, too," she told the commission.
Like Miller, commissioner Judy Downer is looking forward to the convenience of drive-thru Burger King on Elden Street. "On hot days or in nasty weather, it is much more fun to go through the drive-thru."
Another resident, Mary Burger also came to the defense of the proposal, and more specifically, Jarratt. "This is absolutely ridiculous, you've harassed this boy for too long and held him for blackmail," she said.
Commissioner Theodore Hochstein agreed. "The applicant has gone far and beyond what we have asked of other people," he said, before voting to approve the application.
Betty Hatfield, who opposed the two previous applications, said that she was now satisfied with the current proposal, given the addition of "Baker Place." "It's an acceptable solution," Hatfield said.
Unlike Hatfield, commissioner Tirrell still has concerns about Jarratt's plans and the former councilman twice voted against the drive-thru when he was on council. Tuesday night, Tirrell was the only member of the commission who did not vote for the application.