Chick-fil-A asks for deferral on Hugh Howell plans

People check out the pop-up alley off Main Street during Tucker Day 2021 on Saturday, Sept. 4. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — Chick-fil-A was scheduled to appear before City Council this week for a second read and public hearing of their application for a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) and three variances at 4435 Hugh Howell Drive.

The fast food restaurant asked for a deferral to Dec. 13, which was granted by City Council. Councilmember Noelle Monferdini recused herself from the discussion.

Planning and Zoning Director Courtney Smith said Chick-fil-A has been “listening to feedback from the community, the boards and commissions. They would like more time to study the site plan and the access to the property.”

Tucker Planning Commission denied a recommendation of the plan in September. Neighbors from Rosser Terrace have been strongly against using the residential street as the entrance to Chick-fil-A.

City Council approved the deferral.

Branch Properties presented the first read of an ordinance to modify plans for a drive-thru at Hugh Howell Marketplace, 4650 Hugh Howell Road. Laurel David, the applicant’s attorney, said the fast casual restaurant Gusto will be relocated in the shopping center.

The property is still under construction. Publix will likely open by Thanksgiving, according to a recent statement by Nick Telesca, president of Branch Properties.

A second read of the ordinance will be held on Dec. 13.

Natalie Phoenix, owner of Phoenix Wellness Spa, held a first read for a SLUP to allow a massage establishment at 2088 Idlewood Road. Tucker staff recommended denial of the application, stating “a massage establishment health spa would not be consistent with the intent of the Suburban Character Area or the primary land uses of that character area” and “it would add to a proliferation of similar uses nearby.”

Phoenix explained nearby businesses are chiropractic, beauty and sports massage related.

“Approving the SLUP would support a Tucker resident. It would bring community events and fundraisers, onsite services to the residents of the Phoenix senior living community and other like businesses, and give access to massage and wellness to the community,” she said.

Phoenix Wellness Spa will return to City Council for a second read on Dec. 13.

Planning and Zoning Director Courtney Smith presented a second read of an ordinance to change the city’s code. Tucker is proposing to prohibit convenience stores in DT-2 and DT-3 downtown districts, prohibit hookah bars and lounges from downtown districts and Northlake. Hookah bars will be allowed to apply for a SLUP in C-1 (local commercial) and C-2 districts.

The ordinance will also create an entertainment district in downtown Tucker that allows for open containers of alcohol and permitted sidewalk dining.

“Expand outdoor dining provisions, including the implementation of a sidewalk café license, and the creation of an entertainment district in downtown to allow businesses to expand seating options for patrons and increase the vibrancy of our downtown,” a memo stated.

City Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance. An entertainment district may be in effect as soon as Jan. 1, 2022.

The next City Council meeting is a work session on Nov. 22.

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