IT'S far too early for councillors to be giving the green light to plans to open a Taco Bell outlet in Bathurst, says Greens councillor John Fry.
The Western Advocate revealed last week that plans had been lodged with Bathurst Regional Council to open a Taco Bell outlet at the busy intersection of Stewart and Howick streets.
Under the plans, the restaurant and car park would be built across two lots at 103-15 Stewart Street with a 6.44m illuminated pylon sign of the Taco Bell logo installed at the corner.
The DA won the immediate support of Cr Alex Christian who told the Advocate that "I think most councillors would support a company like Taco Bell" but Cr Fry has urged his colleagues to tread carefully.
"I think the application needs to be assessed pretty carefully by council staff and councillors should not be giving an opinion either way until staff can offer their take on it," Cr Fry said.
"I'm not for it or against it even though other councillors seem to have already given the green light."
Cr Fry said issues of traffic control, odour and noise needed to be carefully considered.
"I've had a look at the DA and I can see a lot of issues that need to be addressed to council's satisfaction," he said.
"I think most people will welcome Taco Bell in Bathurst but I personally would prefer to go to a locally-owned hamburger shop if I was getting takeaway."
Cr Fry said the Taco Bell would likely be a popular spot for schoolkids - particularly from nearby Bathurst High - and he had concerns about how they might safely cross the highway as they left the restaurant.
"The lights [on Stewart Street] at Keppel and Lambert streets came about because residents in those areas were concerned about kids being safe as they crossed the highway," he said.
"I couldn't support this Taco Bell development until there was some safe crossing for pedestrians like lights or a zebra crossing, particularly if we're drawing people away from crossing at the existing traffic lights."
Cr Fry said compressors and exhaust fans at the restaurants would run until 11pm each day and he was also worried about the impact odour from the restaurant would have on nearby residents.
"Would you want it next to your house?" he said.