DeKalb County defers Chick-fil-A plans on N. Druid Hills RoadA new Chick-Fil-A is being proposed for 3795 N. Druid Hills Road. Image obtained via Google Maps
By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor
Greater Decatur, GA — Chick-fil-A is changing its model across the county to double drive-thru lanes and walk-up windows with outdoor seating only. But neighbors have made it clear – they do not want a relocated drive-thru Chick-fil-A near North DeKalb Mall.
At the July 29 DeKalb County Board of Commissioners zoning meeting, opponents said traffic would be “detrimental” if Chick-fil-A moved from its current location at 3905 N. Druid Hills to 3795 N. Druid Hills Road.
Chick-fil-A is proposing to rezone the lot from NS (Neighborhood Shopping) to C-1 (Local Commercial), and asked for a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) to allow a drive-thru facility in a town center character area, defined as pedestrian-friendly environment.
The relocated restaurant would sit at the corner of Birch Road and N. Druid Hills, the former site of home furnishing store Pier 1 Imports. DeKalb County transportation department staff recommends a left turn lane at the intersection.
Carol Hayes, spokesperson for the Laurel Ridge Shamrock Civic Association, said after studying the plans, the association has not found anyone in support of the plan. “The change from a business-hours retail store to a fast food operation will dramatically change the increased traffic flow” during the morning and evening rush hour, she said.
“It will be a vehicle-centric facility, allowing up to 41 cars at a time to idle in front of residential homes,” Hayes said.
Marta buses already face difficult traffic making a left-hand turn from N. Druid Hills onto Birch Road, said several neighbors.
Janeah Saadeh, who owns a business and lives in the area, said there are already multiple accidents each week on N. Druid Hills Road. She said the plan “seems like a recipe for more safety issues and injuries.”
Attorney David Kirk spoke on behalf of Chick-fil-A. He said with 17,000 cars traveling inbound and 15,000 cars traveling outbound daily on N. Druid Hills, the current traffic is “undeniable.” Kirk said it is up to DeKalb County to provide answers about traffic on the heavily traveled corridor.
“There are issues we were happy to try to work through with staff and the community, and happy to accept a one-cycle deferral,” said Kirk.
Staff recommended deferral to continue working with Chick-fil-A. Commissioners voted unanimously to defer the proposal two cycles. It will be on the zoning meeting agenda again in November.
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