City engineers oppose special permit for Chick-fil-A on Augusta Street

Eat less chickin'

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City of Greenville engineers have announced their opposition to a proposed — and very controversial — Chick-fil-A drive-thru on Augusta Street. The department of engineering is not in favor of granting the restaurant a special exception to the city’s zoning laws.

In comments, the city engineer said the intended use of the property is expected to result in adverse impacts to traffic on August Street. Further analysis and documentation is needed to support the proposed use, the city engineer added.

The permit request is also opposed by the city traffic engineer who said the scope of a traffic study wasn’t defined by the city and doesn’t include the intersection at Lewis Plaza and Capers Drive.

The city’s civil engineer also raised concerns about the site. Due to the existing topography of the site, the city civil engineer said the portion of the driveway connecting to Aberdeen Drive and the parking along the driveway will be at a less-than-ideal grade. The cross-slope of the parking spaces is the primary concern.

The applicant – COC Greenville LLC – has proposed to redevelop three parcels of land fronting Augusta Street, and located between Aberdeen Drive and Conestee Avenue, as a drive-through restaurant. The land requires a special exemption in the C-2, local commercial zoning district.

The plan has drawn the ire of nearby residents, who say the restaurant would make the traffic nightmare on Augusta worse, create issues with pedestrian and cyclist safety and increase the number of drivers who use residential streets as a cut-through. Residents collected nearly 700 signatures on a petition asking Greenville’s Board of Zoning Appeals to reject the proposal.

They used a passage of S. Truett Cathy’s “Eat More Chikin’, Inspire More People: Doing Business the Chick-fil-A Way” as one of their arguments. Cathey wrote that his restaurant built its first drive-thru-only in Greenville in 1993. “Near the parking lot of McAlister Square Mall we built a small drive-thru with two windows, designed to do about $750,000 worth of business per year. Well, the first year we did $1.4 million. Cars were lined up across the mall parking lot and backed up down a four-lane highway.”

The developer wants to demolish the buildings where the former Vaughn Russell Candy Kitchen’s was located and where Cheeseburger House, Empire Spirits liquor store and the Saluda River Pet Food & Supply Center are currently located. The site in question is across the street from Lewis Plaza, which is being redeveloped and will contain a Harris Teeter grocery store.

The application said there are two restaurants with drive-throughs nearby: the Como Pete’s and the McDonald’s. “Clearly, a drive-thru restaurant — a commercial use — is appropriate here,” the application said. The application said the drive-thru would have enough stacking room for 25 cars and enough space to prevent traffic from flowing out of the property.

On its petition, residents said, “This is an inappropriate and unwanted development by an out-of-state developer who can find a better location for its heavy-traffic business proposal.”

The BZA is scheduled to hold a special public hearing Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

The proposed site redevelopment includes a free-standing, 4,500-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through window at Augusta Street and Aberdeen Drive, with patio space for outdoor dining. All vehicular access would be from Conestee Avenue and Aberdeen Drive. No access is proposed on Augusta Street.

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