Chick-fil-A Denied Parking

Staff Report

On February 23, 2023, Chick-fil-A’s request for additional parking at a potential new location in Collierville was denied. It remains uncertain if the restaurant will proceed with its plans. Todd Williams, Chick-fil-A’s regional development director, refused to comment on whether the board’s decision will affect a possible site northwest of Houston Levee Road and Wolf River Boulevard.

At a meeting attended by about 150 people, Collierville’s Board of Zoning Appeals considered a request for 81 parking spaces on a 1.9-acre site in northwest Collierville. However, based on town guidelines, only 52 spaces were allowed for the anticipated 104 seats Chick-fil-A may propose.

While many Collierville residents were against the proposal, some were open to the idea, as Chick-fil-A requested more parking than typically allowed. More than 100 emails from community members were submitted, with most expressing opposition.

The site is zoned residential, but as part of the Almadale Farms planned development, commercial uses are allowed. While restaurants are permitted by right, Chick-fil-A did not qualify for a variance, according to Debbie Wiles, a former city attorney for Germantown and a nearby resident.

David Wade, an attorney for several homeowners’ associations, also argued that the variance was illegal for the same reasons. BZA member Leon Floyd agreed, stating that the hardship was created by developing the site, and it was not something that already existed.

The opposition from residents was primarily due to traffic and safety concerns, which were amplified by the number of schools in the area. Although a traffic study was not required for the BZA application, the parking request has an impact on the study.

Chick-fil-A representatives believe that additional parking spaces would reduce traffic on streets and prevent guests from parking at nearby businesses. Williams said, “We are trying to be as self-contained as we possibly can. That is our intent, that we are not impacting a neighboring site.” However, board members Kyle Sledd and David Frazier ultimately voted against the proposal.

If Chick-fil-A submits a preliminary site plan, a traffic study will be required, and the Planning Commission will review it before making any recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The BZA’s decision will have an impact on the traffic study.

Chick-fil-A had previously submitted a request to the town for a location near Bray Station and Poplar Avenue, in addition to the Houston Levee location. The existing Chick-fil-A experiences traffic issues during peak hours, with traffic spilling over onto West Poplar Avenue. The new site was intended to have at least 52 cars queued on site in the drive-thru before it even approached the entrance. However, the Bray Station location has not been resubmitted at this time.

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