After 50 years, the owner of Taco Boy in Mt. Pleasant fears its days could be numbered.
Like other restaurants, Taco Boy had to make changes to cope with the pandemic.
Half a century of business, but now Taco Boy’s owner, Robert Balitierrez, said he is fighting to stay in business.
“I’ve been in mount pleasant for 50 years and one of the very few small minority-owned businesses left in Mount Pleasant,” Balitierrez said.
The issue is his drive thru, which he has been using during the pandemic. The Zoning Board of Appeals said it doesn’t meet state requirements.
“The conditions necessary under a zoning ordinance which are consistent under the state law, weren’t met to be able to grant that variance,” said Brian Kench, building official for city of Mt. Pleasant.
Baltierrez said the variance he is seeking comes down to an issue of space.
“They require 60 yards, which is over half a football field. I don’t meet that requirement,” Balitierrez said.
Baltierrez said the drive thru is what kept the business afloat for nearly the past two years.
“That was the only way that I was able to keep every one of my employees employed during this pandemic,” Balitierrez said.
He feels he is being singled out.
“There are a lot of other businesses along this avenue that don’t meet the 60-foot stacking requirement. They’re allowed to operate and I’m not. I feel like as a small business owner, I’m being discriminated against,” Balitierrez said.
Kench said the drive thru that Taco Boy inherited when it opened at its current location 14 years ago, was not grandfathered in.
“That use had been abandoned for a period. So, any new drive through in this case would have to comply with current standards,” Kench said.
Baltierrez said he has spent nearly $10,000 trying to get his drive-thru up to code. He met with planning commissioners Thursday and that they advised him to use delivery apps.
He said the Zoning Board of Appeals would soon serve him a letter to halt the drive thru.
“Without my drive through, it’s going to be very hard for me to stay in business,” Baltierrez said.