Plans for Drive-In Site Undergoing Review

An application for a crucial zoning change that would allow a car dealership to move into the property occupied by the Van Nuys Drive-In Theater is being reviewed by the city Department of Planning and Land Use Management.

The Planning Commission voted to approve the change in January. Under city guidelines, the planning and land use department must also approve the item before it can be passed on to the City Council for a final vote.

Officials expect the council to rule on the measure the first of week of April, according to a spokeswoman from the mayor’s office.

“Right now everything is going smoothly. Everything’s on schedule,” said Lesa Slaughter, a member of Mayor Richard Riordan’s Business Team.


At issue is a request for a zoning change from a residential to commercial designation. Although the property has been zoned residential for years, the drive-in theater was allowed to operate as an exception.

After the drive-in went out of business in early 1996, officials ruled that any new business would require commercial zoning.

Last year, Car Max, a used-vehicle dealership owned by Circuit City, made moves to purchase the land on Roscoe Boulevard.

Car Max’s plans include an outdoor lot, an indoor showroom and an entrance-exit driveway on Roscoe Boulevard. The Planning Commission also agreed to recommend the installation of a traffic signal at the driveway.


The Van Nuys Drive-In Theater was one of oldest outdoor theaters in the Valley when it closed two years ago. Soon after, Wal-Mart expressed interest in the property but opted for a parcel elsewhere in Panorama City.