SANTA BARBARA COUNTY - Could the solution to Chick-fil-A's traffic problems in Santa Barbara be a second location to prevent it from being declared a public nuisance?
The restaurant on Monday filed a permit application for a new location in the unincorporated area between Santa Barbara and Goleta, Travis Seawards, the county's Planning and Development division deputy supervisor, confirmed to FOX 11.
In the application, Chick-fil-A proposed the construction of a new site at 476 Calle Real, where there is an existing IHOP.
The proposed 2,504 square-foot quick-service restaurant would have 50 parking spaces and drive-thru service.
Officials confirm to FOX 11 this new proposed location is not intended to replace the current location at 3707 State St.
The two locations would be within about six miles of each other, which equals between 11 and 13 minutes of drive time.
The State Street location has been the subject of scrutiny this week after Santa Barbara City Council gave it 90 days to present traffic solutions before a vote is taken to designate the site as a "public nuisance."
City officials say the long lines of cars outside the fast-food restaurant are jamming up the streets for as long as an hour and a half on weekdays and two and a half hours on weekends.
"The city's traffic engineer, police chief and community development director have evaluated the situation and believe that the persistent traffic back-up onto State Street is a public nuisance and that the nuisance is caused by the operation of a drive-through at the Chick-fil-A restaurant," the document stated.
The company said it has been working to address these traffic issues and is considering city and community feedback, in addition to implementing several measures to help ease the flow of traffic. These include hiring third-party traffic control, negotiating an offsite parking agreement with a nearby business to add overflow parking for employees, and posting signs in the area to clearly mark entry and exit points.
Chick-fil-A Santa Barbara franchise operator Travis Collins issued the following statement to FOX 11:
"At our very core, Chick-fil-A strives to serve not only our guests, but our communities at large. We want nothing more than to be a good neighbor. That’s why, as the local restaurant Operator, I’ve been working diligently with the city and our internal partners to continue mitigating traffic concerns, hiring extra Team Members to serve our guests, engaging third-party traffic control to help expedite traffic and much more. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to serve our Santa Barbara community for the past few years, including through donations to local non-profits, food drives and more, and look forward to making a positive impact for many years to come."
The city council intends to finalize the vote during a hearing on June 7.
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