Thursday, July 31, 2014


A large local Burger King franchisee is seeking to build a new, drive-thru location at the Red Roof Inn on Shady Grove Road. To allow this to happen, Potomac Foods Group must first obtain a zoning text amendment from the Rockville Planning Commission, to permit construction of a restaurant with drive-thru facilities on a hotel property in the MXE zone. Phew! And they said zoning was going to be simpler... The zoning change would alter the current language that forbids drive-thru restaurants in MXE zones, making it a "conditional" permitted use hereafter.

If successful, the ZTA would permit other hotels in MXE zones throughout Rockville with a minimum of 200 feet of a major highway along an existing hotel's property frontage, and which has frontage onto a major arterial road at its front line. In addition to the Red Roof Inn, this might also extend to the Crowne Plaza, the Sleep Inn at Shady Grove, Courtyard by Marriott, Quality Suites, and the Best Western. All of these are near the I-270 corridor in Rockville.

I think this should be permitted to go forward for several reasons. First, the use in this case is entirely consistent with the general commercial nature of Shady Grove Road. And those existing properties are designed with automobile access in mind. Second, a drive-thru Burger King has already been in operation there on the other side of the road. Third, it provides a convenient amenity for the Red Roof Inn. Fourth, the location is right off of I-270, which will bring travelers into Rockville, where they might see other businesses and spend further money in the city. It could also be pointed out that this location would not require a U-turn for those exiting 270 to reach. Fifth, despite the best efforts of county politicians to drive fast food restaurants out of the county, drive-thru fast food establishments remain highly appropriate for suburban and exurban areas (and even in urban areas).

Should it be built, I know I'll be a customer there.

1 comment:

  1. They must be moving the existing Burger King. It makes ZERO sense to build an identical fast-food restaurant directly across the street from the existing one. At least make it a Wendy's or something else.

    That said, a drive-thru restaurant attached to a hotel is an interesting concept.