Chick-fil-A restaurants are known for their heavy foot traffic and busy drive-thrus, but a Chick-fil-A in Santa Barbara, California, is getting so much business that the city council is considering forcing the restaurant to move by declaring it a “public nuisance.”
The local Chick-fil-A has operated at 3707 State Street since 2013 but has received complaints from residents due to backups that spill from the drive-thru and onto the road. Although a Burger King was previously located at the same site, it did not cause such problems, according to the city council’s March 1 agenda report.
The city says it wants to help the owners find a new location.
The city council unanimously voted on March 1 to move toward a potential public nuisance designation, according to the News-Press newspaper.
“This is not about the goodness of the company or the goodness of the owners and certainly not about the goodness of the employees,” said council member Kristen Sneddon. “Chick-fil-A has a good problem here. They are so successful they have outgrown their site. It’s possible they were oversized for that site, to begin with.”
A March 1 report from city officials says traffic from the drive-thru blocks the right lane on State Street, leaving only one of two lanes open. Further, traffic often blocks the sidewalk and bike lanes.
“State Street is one of the city’s most important streets for moving people and goods,” said Derrick Bailey, a transportation engineer for the city, according to the News-Press. “It was never intended to operate with significant blockage.”
Said Mayor Randy Rowse, “It is important to understand we’re trying to cure, not trying to punish.”
Chick-fil-A representatives said they will fix the issue by adding another thru-lane, rearranging parking spaces and adding “a forced right turn exit out of the restaurant,” the News-Press reported.
“On behalf of myself, Chick-fil-A and the many team members, we sincerely regret that this traffic situation has come to this point and heartily wish to work in good faith with the city to resolve this matter once and for all,” said owner Travis Collins. “We believe we do have solutions, several of them.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.