City close to declaring Chick-fil-A drive-through a ‘public nuisance’

Chick-Fil-A / Facebook

In most towns, a successful business earns the warm embrace of local officials. In Santa Barbara, Calif., however – and notably if you are a nationally known Christian-owned company – success can have you deemed a “public nuisance.”

The California city is close to giving its sole Chick-fil-A restaurant that status due to long drive-through lines that have customers’ cars backed up in the street for hours at a time, reports CBS.

City officials say the chicken-sandwich restaurant draws a steady flow of patrons whose vehicles block nearby driveways and sidewalks and force city buses and emergency vehicles to find other routes. They also claim Chick-fil-A’s drive-through creates the potential for traffic collisions and pedestrians being hit. At peak volume the drive-through blocks one lane of traffic for as long as 90 minutes on weekdays and 155 minutes on Saturdays, a city traffic report stated.

“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 declares.

Chick-fil-A’s combo of fried chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and appealing Christian values (the restaurants are closed on Sundays) creates long drive-thru lines around the country. Restaurant trade publication QSR listed the company as having the busiest drive-thru windows of any national chain in 2019.

At a recent Santa Barbara city council session, members unanimously approved moving toward a potential public nuisance designation for their Chick-fil-A. Representatives asked the council to delay the nuisance designation and give it additional time to work on the fixing the problem, and the council agreed to wait until a public hearing until June 7.


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