Comox Addresses Drive-Through GHG-emissions

The Town of Comox Council passed a Zoning bylaw that will limit pollution from cars idling in drive-throughs.

The Town of Comox has agreed to monitor its impact on greenhouse gas emissions and to work to create more sustainable development through agreements such as the BC Climate Action Charter and the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Comox Valley.

Taking Climate Action

One solution they decided on for their town was to explore the impacts of drive-through commercial access on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.Staff discovered that vehicular modes of transit have a cumulative impact on the environment and human health. Drive-throughs can contribute to unnecessary emissions by allowing for idling vehicles. They could also conflict with areas where a pedestrian orientation is desired or exists by posing health and safety risks for pedestrians through increased vehicle movement, noise and pollution.

Concerns arose that allowing more drive-throughs would support a car-oriented culture . The town wanted to support healthier forms of transportation such as walking and cycling – transportation that doesn’t rely on drive-throughs. For this reason Town of Comox Council proposed a climate smart solution.

Engagement & Governance

The drive-through rezoning process was initiated in response to public input received during the processing of an earlier commercial development application. The rezoning process involved four Planning Reports to Council and a public hearing.

There were concerns over banning drive-throughs in all zones. For example, prospective new businesses might choose not to locate in Comox if drive-through access is not permitted, but rather service the local market by service a similar market elsewhere.


The final outcome was that Bylaw #1636: Comox Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 42. The bylaw was passed by Council on October 21, 2009. The bylaw permits drive-throughs on parcels where they currently exist but not in new developments.Comox Town Council issued the following resolution at the July 15th, 2009 Regular Council Meeting:  “That drive-throughs be permitted on parcels where they currently exist, and prohibited elsewhere.”

Peter Marohnic,, Planning Technician Town of Comox Ph: (250) 339-1118
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