On June 7, 2022, Taco Bell opened its newest location in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Unlike other Taco Bell locations, the Brooklyn Park restaurant offers exclusively drive-through services with no accompanying dining option. Even more intriguing, the kitchen is designed above, as opposed to next to, the drive-through pick-up windows.

Dubbed “Taco Bell Defy”, the new “floating” restaurant represents the first location of the international chain’s quest to “redefin[e] drive-thrus as customers know it.” Specifically, the goal of Taco Bell Defy is to reduce drive-through service times from an average of 4.5 minutes to 2 minutes or less. In pursuit of this objective, the new location gives each service lane a specific purpose, including three pre-order pick-up lanes for third-party delivery services and customers using the Taco Bell app, and one traditional on-site order and pick-up lane. The two-story model boasts a proprietary “vertical lift” that delivers Taco Bell menu items from the kitchen above to the car below.

Continue Reading Floating Restaurants: One and Done or More to Come?

Several polls indicate that housing affordability continues to be a major issue across the nation.

As discussed in past blog posts, the Federal and state and local governments continue pushing for changes in zoning regulations to ensure that more housing units are affordable to more people in more areas.

In support of that goal, several communities, including Pittsburgh, are pursuing an approach called inclusionary zoning to ensure that residential developments include a minimum amount of housing units that are affordable to low- or moderate-income residents. The idea behind inclusionary zoning is to create mixed-income developments and neighborhoods. Municipalities are seeking to achieve inclusionary zoning by implementing either voluntary or mandatory zoning regulations.

Continue Reading Inclusionary Zoning: Carrots Taste Better and Aren’t as Painful as Sticks

The quote above comes from my favorite attraction in Walt Disney World – the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover located in the Magic Kingdom.  Most readers will not know this, but my family and I are Disney World fanatics.  We regularly trek down to Florida to visit the Mouse.  It’s rare for my professional and personal interests to intersect so directly, but when I read this it was – dare I say – magic?

Continue Reading “Paging Mr. Morrow – Mr. Tom Morrow.” Is a Disney Community Coming to Your Municipality Soon?

Thank you for continuing to follow our Land Use Blog into 2022. Below are the top 5 most viewed posts of 2021. Enjoy!

TOP 5 POSTS OF 2021

  1. Kandice Hull – PennDOT’s Capital Beltway Project Is Moving Forward
  2. Jon Andrews – More Sunshine? What Do Changes to the Sunshine Act Mean to Developers?
  3. Jon Andrews

Latrobe. As a kid growing up in Western PA, it has always meant Steelers’ preseason football camp. In my 20s, “33” and Rolling Rock’s green pony bottles – “from the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe” – stole the limelight. Although the Steelers are still in Latrobe, Anheuser-Busch moved production of the classic pale ale in green bottles to New Jersey years ago. But it seems as if “green” might again be the second color of Latrobe.

Continue Reading Latrobe, PA: From Green Bottles to Green Charging Stations

Problem:  A clean, renewable energy (CRE) developer is proposing to construct a solar energy project on land within a rural agricultural area of our community. We have government goals and initiatives promoting the reduction of carbon footprints by accelerating the pace of replacing dependence on fossil fuels with CRE sources (e.g., solar, wind). At the same time, similar goals and initiatives suggest supporting farmers and preserving more farmland. We think that both are important. Do we create a win-lose scenario by supporting one and sacrificing the other?

Answer: You may not have to choose.
Continue Reading Agrivolatics: Two for One – Harvesting Crops and Solar

As mentioned before in this blog, an increasing number of state and local governments are revising plans and zoning regulations to help overcome the exclusionary effects of single-family only zoning.  The purpose of these initiatives is to provide additional housing opportunities that are affordable to more people in more areas.  Zoning revisions may include permitting multiple dwelling uses by right in zoning districts that normally are less dense.  Examples of uses include:  (i) garage apartments or accessory dwelling units on
Continue Reading Uncle Sam Giving You More Chances to Love More New Neighbors?

Monetization is the process of converting assets into economic value. Looking for more options to generate revenue, municipalities have begun using solar projects to help monetize formerly “passive” or unused public assets, such as vacant land, rooftops, parking lots and storm basins. There is a tremendous upside for such development, and in recent years potential liabilities have shifted from municipalities to the solar companies.

Today’s common model for a municipal solar development is similar to a public-private partnership. The municipality provides the land or space for the project, and the solar company
Continue Reading Monetizing “Passive” Public Assets with Solar Projects

Hopefully, the title alone has George Harrison’s acoustic intro playing in your head.  If not, maybe this will help.

Here comes the sun (doo-doo-doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

The Beatles’ classic was not foretelling of the arrival of solar energy development projects in Pennsylvania, but it could serve as an anthem now.

Last month, Rachel McDevitt of StateImpact Pennsylvania published an article about the emerging solar energy development “boom” in Pennsylvania.  The article is a wonderful deep dive into the recent growth of solar projects.  It outlines the usual questions and concerns surrounding those projects.

McDevitt notes that
Continue Reading Here Comes the Sun . . . Solar Development in Pennsylvania

Thank you for following our Land Use Blog throughout 2020.  Without spending too much time on the past, please enjoy our Top 5 posts of 2020!

TOP 5 POSTS OF 2020

  1. Jon Andrews, Looking Through the Kaleidoscope – Land Use in Pennsylvania
  2. Claudia Shank, Simplified Zoning: Paradox or New Paradigm?
  3. Peter Wertz, Water Flows Downhill