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15/12/01 . By Gordon Y.K. Pang . Honolulu Star-Bulletin . USA  
Planners OK Haleiwa drive-throughs  
Business may have the drive-up windows in the special district with certain conditions  

Haleiwa business owners may soon be able to obtain use permits for drive-through windows.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 Wednesday to recommend that the City Council approve a bill that would allow drive-throughs in the restrictive Haleiwa Special Design District by petition for a minor conditional use permit. The permit would come from the Department of Planning and Permitting.

Under the bill, Haleiwa businesses would be eligible only if they are 2,000 feet or more from another drive-through. They would also need to appear before the North Shore Neighborhood Board before an application could be considered.

The plan, if approved, could end a long-standing controversy involving a drive-through window at the Haleiwa McDonald's.

Drive-through windows are not allowed in the Haleiwa Special Design District, which puts a tight grip on land use to preserve the area's cultural, natural and historical attributes.

The city allowed a variance for the window in 1997, but the decision was overturned last year after a lawsuit by area residents and the environmental group Life of the Land.

The window has remained in use pending an appeal filed by the restaurant owner. The Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case.

Meanwhile, the Council introduced a resolution earlier this year calling for the Department of Planning and Permitting to establish rules for drive-throughs.

Kat Brady, deputy director for Life of the Land, said most Haleiwa businesses and residents are opposed to drive-throughs. "Haleiwa was meant to be a pedestrian-friendly town."

Donald Clegg, planning consultant for the McDonald's, said he is happy the Planning Commission supports drive-throughs in Haleiwa, but he is disappointed with the use-permit requirement because the restaurant would need to apply for one.

Clegg said his client should be allowed to continue using its drive-through.

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