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City Council to consider Chick-Fil-A proposal Monday

In one of its first votes of the year, the Charlottesville City Council will consider a special-use permit for the first Chick-Fil-A in the city limits.

The council will consider the request during its meeting on Monday.

The restaurant is proposed for the site of a Burger King at the Barracks Road Shopping Center. The Burger King would be demolished

The permit is required because the restaurant would have a drive-thru window.

The proposed drive-thru would have two lanes for ordering that would be covered with a permanent overhang. The two lanes would converge into one after the ordering station.

The council can only consider whether the drive-thru is appropriate for the site and “should not focus on whether a restaurant is appropriate for this location or if Chick-Fil-A is the appropriate type of restaurant,” according to a staff report that will be presented on Monday.

That scope of review is standard, but not usually spelled out or in bold letters in staff reports. It was not included in reports for two permits at the Dec. 2 council, nor was it included in the first permit request considered in 2018, the last time new councilors joined the panel.

Monday’s will be the first meeting for Councilors Michael Payne, Sena Magill and Lloyd Snook.

Chick-Fil-A also is seeking an exemption from setback requirements for utility lines. According to the application, Burger King is not in compliance with setback regulations, so Chick-Fil-A is asking to extend that allowance.

Access to the site would come from the existing entrance on Emmet Street, which is U.S. 29, and the shopping center.

The application says no additional traffic is expected because the site will remain a fast food restaurant.

The restaurant would be the third standalone location in the area. The others are located north of the city on U.S. 29 and east of the city on Pantops Mountain. There is also a Chick-Fil-A inside Fashion Square Mall.

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to recommend approval after a joint public hearing with the council on Dec. 10.

The vote came after a robust discussion of the city’s proposed Capital Improvement Program. The proposal includes funds to fulfill Charlottesville’s requirement to build a parking garage through an agreement with Albemarle County to keep county courts downtown.

The commission voted to recommend that the city not adopt the CIP and find other ways to meet parking requirements, citing environmental concerns about vehicles and carbon emissions.

Commissioner Lisa Green, who voted against the Chick-Fil-A permit, chastised the other commissioners for railing against vehicles in one vote and then facilitating higher usage in another one.

“You guys talk out of both sides of your mouth. We have conversations about [the] environment, about pedestrian connectivity … and then you guys are going to approve a double drive through with 20 cars that sit and will not have pedestrian connectivity to that building,” she said.

The commission’s recommendation included requirements Chick-Fil-A construct a public sidewalk on Emmet Street north to the primary entrance of the restaurant and internal parking at Barracks.

In a staff report, city staff emphasize that “reasonable conditions” have been imposed to “mitigate potential adverse impacts on pedestrian traffic in the vicinity.”

The final proposal is subject to review by the Board of Architectural Review.

The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 605 E. Main St.


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