Courtesy Hat Creek Burger Co.
Georgetown City Council voted 4–3 to approve the second reading of an ordinance for a special-use permit for a Hat Creek Burger Co. drive-thru restaurant at 405 S. Austin Ave.
More than 20 people spoke during the public comment period leading up to the council vote.
About 15 spoke in opposition to a drive-thru at the location on Austin Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets for reasons such as pollution caused by idling cars, increased traffic in the neighborhood, and the potential traffic hazards caused by vehicles exiting the drive-thru and turning left onto Austin Avenue.
Georgetown resident Nancy Knight said a drive-thru in the proposed location was not in harmony with Georgetown’s downtown master plan, which encourages people to walk in the downtown area.
“I hope you’ll keep in perspective that this is one business that is asking for numerous exceptions and how many people are opposed to it,” she said to the council before the vote.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had voted 7–0 to recommend denying a special-use permit for the restaurant April 3. However, City Council passed the first reading of the ordinance with a vote of 4–3 at its May 22 meeting.
Since that time, Georgetown Historic District Planner Robbie Wyler said the developer modified the site layout to include an entrance and exit directly onto Fourth and Fifth streets, disconnecting the alley nearest to the adjacent neighborhood from restaurant traffic. The developer also plans to build an 8-foot-tall screening wall between the neighborhood and the restaurant.
Six people spoke in favor of the permit for Hat Creek Burger Co., saying their experience with the restaurant’s other locations in Austin had been positive and that Georgetown needs more restaurants like Hat Creek.
“I am in favor of Hat Creek coming in,” Kirk Kriegle said. “It will encourage people to come downtown.”
Councilman Tommy Gonzalez said that council had made exceptions to its downtown master plan in the past, and that any project on the site would generate traffic.
Council members Patty Eason, Danny Meigs and Rachel Jonrowe were the dissenting votes in the passing of the ordinance, which was amended by council members to say that the drive-thru must close by 9 p.m. every evening and that no more than 50 percent of its sales could come from the drive-thru.
The project will go before the Historic and Architectural Review Commission for a Certificate of Design Compliance review June 28.