Oakville Starbucks would be a drive-thru-only coffee shop

New store might lower the traffic at Lindbergh/Lemay Ferry location

A+rendering+of+the+proposed+Oakville+Starbucks%2C+which+would+be+drive-thru+only.+

A rendering of the proposed Oakville Starbucks, which would be drive-thru only.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

A new Starbucks along Telegraph Road in Oakville would be drive-thru only, after customers have gotten used to picking up their morning coffee from their cars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oakville Starbucks is proposed on a 0.51-acre lot at the former site of Yorkshire Cleaners at Telegraph and Tanzberger, next to Telegraph Plaza and Dierbergs. Developer Richard Robinson of First and Main Properties, who owns the site and would lease it to Starbucks, is asking for a change in commercial zoning and made the case to the county Planning Commission at an April 19 public hearing.

The new coffee shop would be drive-thru only, 1,000 square feet, with no indoor cafe or outdoor patio, to allow more room for cars to circulate. Customers would order through the drive-thru line or walk to a mobile pickup window, then exit either back onto Telegraph or onto what Robinson called a “highly restricted” left-turn only lane onto Tanzberger, a private residential street. Two meetings were held for the street ahead of the public hearing.

The side facing Telegraph would be brick veneer and faux wood, with the drive-thru on the far right. The walkup window would be on the opposite side, facing Tanzberger. Planning Commission member Bill Sneed, who lives in Oakville, wondered if people walking up to get coffee at the pickup window would have to walk through traffic.

Erik Staley, the civil engineer for the project with Clayton Engineering, confirmed that but said that any cars coming in off Telegraph should be going 5 mph or less by the time they hit the parking lot.

“Well you should be, but maybe you ought to look at how they come into parking lots,” Sneed said, pointing out how drivers speed into Dierbergs next door even though it has a stoplight.

“If you’re flying at 30 miles an hour, you’re probably hitting the building and you shouldn’t be driving,” Staley said.

The architect for the coffee shop, Jeff Kaiser of TR,i Architects, said that the cars have to stack in the outside lane instead of close to the building so that they can get out. The walkup window itself will be separated from traffic by a 7.5-foot sidewalk.

Kaiser confirmed that the Oakville location would be the third Starbucks in the region that would be drive-thru only, after one in Chesterfield and one at Hampton and Wise in the city of St. Louis. Each of those are different footprints because Starbucks is experimenting with the format after COVID-10.

Although Robinson said an order board and menu would protect the walkers from getting hit, commission member Gary Elliott asked if ballards could be installed for to “err on the side of caution.” Kaiser said that Starbucks could consider it.

Although hundreds of Oakville residents commented online about the Starbucks, only four residents attended the hearing.  Brian Clark asked how the company would keep traffic from lining up on Telegraph like it does at the Lindbergh and Lemay Ferry location at 7333 S. Lindbergh Blvd., the current closest location to Oakville.

“I think one of the reasons why the Lemay Ferry location is so busy is because there’s not a store in Oakville,” Robinson said, noting that when he opened a new Starbucks in the Metro East, the lines at the existing store were “cannibalized” and lowered. As a drive-thru only, the Tanzberger Starbucks also could stack cars more than a typical location.

A few Tanzberger parents said they worry about traffic’s effect on children waiting for the bus. Neighbor Melissa Dalic said she “would not mind” the site as a Starbucks, but she also worried about her son and his schoolmates: “I’m just concerned about how far back his bus will be behind those cars and how much longer it’ll take the bus. … They do come at 8:25, which is a really busy time for Starbucks.”

Robinson said he thought the hazard would be “minimal to nonexistent. … We are adding a new public sidewalk along Tanzberger, so it’ll actually be a safer place for kids to walk.”