Tucker planning recommends denial of Chick-fil-A application after a year of meetings

The Chick-fil-A restaurant at 4340 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker on Jan. 19, 2022. A plan to build a new three-lane drive-thru restaurant nearby at 4435 Hugh Howell Road, the former site of Greater Good BBQ, has met resistance from residents of Rosser Terrace. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — A new letter from city staff indicates Chick-fil-A and the city of Tucker are at an impasse.

Chick-fil-A has been trying since May 2021 to get approval for a drive thru restaurant at 4435 Hugh Howell Road, a quarter mile from its current location. Neighbors have been fighting the plan, calling it “an attempt to make a square peg fit in a round hole.”

In advance of a meeting with Tucker Planning Commission this week, Tucker Planning and Zoning Director Courtney Smith recommended denial of the application. Chick-fil-A is due to come before the planning commission on May 19.

The planning commission voted April 21 for a full cycle deferral. Commissioner Michael Thomas said the deferral would allow time for Chick-fil-A to examine the traffic flow at Cowan Road and Hugh Howell Road under a new plan to add a driveway on Dillard Street.

The application has gone through at least 10 iterations.

“There will be significant impacts to the to the surrounding community about traffic, which obviously several folks in the room are not aware of,” Thomas said on April 21.

Planning commissioners were concerned that area residents were not notified by the city or Chick-fil-A about the Dillard Street change.

Chick-fil-A was charged with updating a traffic study, working with staff to come to an agreement regarding access and meet with GDOT and DeKalb County regarding intersection and road improvements.

“CFA was able to turn around an updated traffic study very quickly. However, staff and the applicant are at an impasse regarding access. Additionally, GDOT will only comment on an active permit and a permit cannot be submitted until after entitlement,” Smith’s letter reads.

City staff tried to move up the meeting, stating that “staff and the applicant have not been able to agree on all elements of the submitted plan.”

The process is out of usual order due to the deferral from the planning commission. Chick-fil-A appeared at city council on May 9 and will be back for a second read on June 13.

All city meetings are open to the public, held in person and virtually.

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