About 30 minutes ago, the special appeals board upheld the Design Review Committee’s decision to deny Chick-Fil-A the right to build a stand-alone drive-through restaurant at the corner of 20th Street South and Highland Avenue in the heart of the historic Five Points South neighborhood.
In making the motion to uphold, board member Elizabeth Barbaree-Tasker noted the following to her fellow members, David Allen and Frederick Chatman:
1. A drive-through is not appropriate to the intent of the Commercial Revitalization District ordinance;
2. Traffic counts (verified at 38,000 cars per day at this intersection) make this an inappropriate place to further burden the traffic stream;
3. The site plan (a small stand-alone building surrounded by a sea of parking) is not appropriate to the surrounding context, where all buildings–except this one proposed–fill the full frontage with building mass;
4. The design is not architecturally compatible with the neighborhood. Other, historic buildings are clearly adaptable into multiple uses, while the Chick-Fil-A building is designed to be ONLY a Chick-Fil-A, to look like other Chick-Fil-A’s across the country, and to not be easily adaptable as something else.
5. The dumpster is not well-located on the site.
The motion was seconded, and the vote was a unanimous “Aye” to uphold the DRC.
As a reminder to Chick-Fil-A: we love your chicken, we really do. But we expect something closer to the below–which you already have in downtown’s northside–if you want to come to downtown’s southside!
PS: it will remain to be seen if the property owners go to court over this, or if better heads will prevail and a satisfactorily urban Plan B is proposed.
PPS: Form Based Code needed!
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Fantastic! So what’s next? Another (modified) CFA proposal to be considered?
I don’t know what’s next. They could either modify the proposal, or go to circuit court. I’d feel they’d have a tough go in court, but they obviously have the resources to try. Otherwise, the property owners could (if they aren’t somehow contractually bound to CFA at this point) turn to another prospect–Panera Bread was supposedly #2–and start a new project.
So why do you think the Chick-Fil-A corp has been so stubborn throughout this process? Seems like they would have bent a lot more up to this point. Not used to being told no?
That’s a good question. I think they just underestimated the resistance this would face, and once they did, they felt compelled to try to salvage all the time spent thus far by fighting. No one has been able to really explain why it “doesn’t work” for them to do walk-up only, from their perspective. Too little profit? Just not part of the model so not up for discussion?
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Thanks for all of the people worked to defeat this proposal and thanks for your excellent coverage of this proceeding.
Thanks David for your interest! It’s just the battle, not the war–we’ll all need to hang in there and work hard on a general solution to these issues.
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