I am opposed to a Taco Bell or a KFC placing a fast food drive thru at 77th Avenue and Thunderbird Road.
The franchise owner of the Taco Bell/KFC at 75th & Thunderbird requested that the area between a church and a bank at 77th Avenue be rezoned to allow a drive-thru KFC be built there (“Drive-thru division: Rezoning of fast food restaurant rolls on,” March 10, 2021, Peoria Independent).
The Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission was opposed to the rezoning request and on Oct. 15, 2020, voted 6 to 1 against the rezone. The recommendation was sent to the Peoria City Council and they, in an unprecedented decision, sent it back to the planning and zoning commission to review again. The city council even commented that they rarely disregarded the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation (only one other time in their recollection).
The commissioners yielded to pressure from the city council and in an astonishing reversal changed their votes to unanimously approve the rezoning.
It is clear to me that the petitioner, who owns over 200 franchises, somehow, out of public sight, influenced both the city council and the planning and zoning commission.
I attended all three meetings of the planning and zoning commission and the city council. I spoke about the noise, lights, and especially the danger it would create due to increased traffic. Thunderbird Road narrows from three lanes to two lanes right at 77th Ave. I live at 77th Avenue and Thunderbird. Two years ago a car heading west on Thunderbird crashed through my block wall into my backyard. The car was rear ended by a vehicle also heading west but speeding to pass cars before the road went from three to two lanes. Luckily no one was seriously injured. This is just an example of how dangerous the road is, and will be if traffic increases.
This is from Mayor Cathy Carlat’s February newsletter: “Continually upgrading our surroundings is a critical component of what we do, but we never forget our primary purpose — we are in the people business. We exist to serve the residents of Peoria by delivering the core services needed for safe, healthy living…”
There is nothing safe or healthy in cramming a drive-thru restaurant in this residential area. It appears that Mayor Carlat and the Peoria City Council forgot about the people and sold out to a big franchise owner.
Editor's note: Don Ware is a resident of Peoria.