Parking spaces

Chick-Fil-A wants to add a 3rd lane and remove 15 parking spaces to solve traffic problems | Local News

The owners of the beleaguered Chick-fil-A restaurant on State Street want to eliminate 15 parking spaces, add a third lane of traffic, build a metal awning and cut down five trees at its popular downtown location.

This proposal was its response to ongoing traffic congestion issues that threatened the company’s ability to have drive-thru at the restaurant at 3707 State St.

Chick-fil-A, and its Santa Ana architecture firm CHROappeared before the Santa Barbara Architectural Review Board on Monday night — and faced strong opposition to his proposal.

“It seems like what’s happening here is we’re bringing a lot of cars to the site, more cars to the site, and making that allowed, but we’re not opening it up to let them out of the site,” said the board. member Leon Olson. “I think it creates a kind of congestion that, I don’t know, plays by all the rules.”

The ABR voted 5-0 on Tuesday to proceed with the project indefinitely, telling Chick-fil-A it didn’t like the canopy, or the removal of the landscaping to accommodate a third lane of cars. The hearing was a concept review, so the restaurant can revise the plan and come back to the board.

Traffic was not under the jurisdiction of ABR, which is responsible for an aesthetic review of the proposal. The project must also be submitted to the planning commission and the city council for review of the functionality and circulation of the proposal.

Chick-fil-A is popular with customers, but has clashed with some locals in the San Roque area.

The restaurant can get so busy that sometimes motorists back onto State Street, creating problems for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and people trying to get out of nearby Rusty’s.

Chick-fil-A has until June 7 to remedy the issue, or the city’s legal team will prepare submissions for the city council to declare the restaurant a “public nuisance,” which could mean loss of service to the flying.

Chick-fil-A, known for its thick, meaty chicken breasts and waffle fries, is a popular destination for locals, sometimes attracting up to 2,500 people a day. The restaurant replaced Burger King, which was not as popular and did not experience the same congestion problems.

Decades ago, Santa Barbara banned all new drive-thru restaurants, so Chick-Fil-A runs the risk of losing drive-thru if he can’t work out a solution with the city.

However, the restaurant may have created a new problem while trying to solve its traffic congestion problem.

Under the proposed plan, Chick-fil-A would create a third lane, including two used by motorists to order food. The third lane would allow cars to enter the site and park, rather than backing into the street.

“It will help with backing to the street,” said Carlos De la Vega, architect at CRHO.

The restaurant would widen the entrance to the site, eliminating some landscaping at the front. The driveway entrance is 32 feet and should be extended to 42 feet. This would also involve moving the disabled parking spaces to the other side of the restaurant.

To add the third lane, Chick-fil-A would need to reduce the number of parking spaces from 45 to 30 and remove five trees. Part of the remaining parking lot would become parallel instead of sloped.

Board members told Chick-fil-A that he should find a way to add a “finger planter, and maybe more trees, to provide more vegetation to the site. Council members were also unhappy with the look, color and design of the metal canopy over the drive-thru lane.

“In terms of the aesthetics and the structure itself that you’ve come up with, I don’t know if I would be in favor of its design,” said board member Steve Nuhn. “Just this big metal canopy. It has nothing to do with the building. I think it needs to be reworked.”

Council chairman Kevin Moore said more landscaping was needed.

“I encourage you to look carefully at the layout and see where you might find planting areas,” Moore said.

– Noozhawk writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Login with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins