About 15 Hazel Avenue residents met Thursday with Taco Bell representatives in the building that Tim Hortons built a couple years ago and vacated at the end of 2017. Taco Bell has plans to move into the building, and the neighbors are concerned about customer noise and bright outdoor lights — it’s planned to be open until past midnight.
Maplewood Mayor Barry Greenberg asked if is a problem, such as a customer in the drive-thru playing loud music, how will it be handled? Taco Bell reps answered that when the driver gets to the speaker box or the window they can ask the customer to turn it down, and people will get the hint, “hopefully,” one said. “Unfortunately you can’t control every situation.” They also said that managers can be called anytime a Taco Bell is open, including until 3 a.m.
Council member Jenny Schmidt asked how many cars might go through the in the late hours. Taco Bell St. Louis area district manager, Earl Jacobson, said that 170 cars can be expected at the drive-thru after 10 p.m.
“We’re going to have lights and cars and music on until 3 o’clock in the morning on weeknights…? The city can’t do anything about cutting back the hours?” a neighbor said. Greenberg said the store would be open until 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on the weekend.
Director of real estate for Taco Bell (Bell American Group LLC), Bob Lach said the store has to have the late hours to compensate for times when it’s not as busy, to be profitable.
A neighbor said he thinks the lights are more of a nuisance than the sound. Greenberg said there are city ordinances to control that, and the volume of light coming from the fixtures can be controlled.
He also said if there is a pattern of nuisance calls to the police an officer can be assigned to the area. He said the way the nuisance ordinance works, an officer has to observe it.
Taco Bell brought cookies and chips for the neighbors to enjoy after the meeting.