Santa Barbara Is On The Verge Of Making Chick-Fil-A Restaurant A ‘Public Nuisance’

[Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Santa Barbara is about to take a crack at a popular Chick-fil-A location because the location is doing too well, according to documents.

The city is on the verge of labeling the only Chick-fil-A, which has been in place since 2013,  a “public nuisance” because long drive-thru lines have backed out onto local streets, clogging traffic.

“Over the last several years, the City has received numerous public comments regarding the vehicle queue at 3707 State Street,” a March 1 council agenda report reads. “The public comments discuss traffic safety issues, auto collisions, cyclist safety issues, and several requests to remedy the issues caused by the drive-through facility at 3707 State Street.”

The report says “Chick-fil-A customers routinely ignore” traffic signs.

A traffic report found “the queue blocks the number two traffic lane of State Street an average of 70 minutes per day on weekdays, and 92 minutes per day on Saturdays.” A nearby restaurant’s driveway is blocked “an average of 15 times per day,” according to the report.

Chick-fil-A has tried its hand at curbing the spillage, such as “reconfiguring its on-site queuing and stationing mobile order takers, but none have appeared to work.”

City Councilmember Kristen Sneddon said Chick-fil-A actually has a good problem, according to Santa Barbara News-Press.

“This is not about the goodness of the company or the goodness of the owners and certainly not about the goodness of the employees,” Sneddon reportedly said. “Chick-fil-A has a good problem here. They are so successful, they have outgrown their site. It’s possible they were oversized for that site, to begin with.”

The owner of the location, Travis Collins, said he thinks he has the right solutions to address the issue and reportedly asked the council not to suspend their drive-thru capabilities. (RELATED: Sen. Lindsey Graham Declares He’d ‘Go To War’ For Chick-Fil-A)

Chick-fil-a food [rblfmr/Shutterstock]

Chick-fil-A food [rblfmr/Shutterstock]

“On behalf of myself, Chick-fil-A and the many team members, we sincerely regret that this traffic situation has come to this point and heartily wish to work in good faith with the city to resolve this matter once and for all. We believe we do have solutions, several of them.”

Remedies, some of which are already in place, include adding an additional drive-thru lane, rearranging parking spaces and changing exit patterns, according to the report. The council gave the location 90 days to present its solutions before a vote is taken, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But local residents aren’t happy.

“Over the years, you’ve had Chick-fil-A putting together their fixes that really did not do much to fix the traffic problem,” resident Rick Closson told the Los Angeles Times. “But then you have the city coming forward with a possible nuisance title, and the corporation is now saying, ‘Oh my goodness, please just give us more time to solve this.'”

Ronda Hobbs said “my personal concern is after the 90 days, Chick-fil-A is going to say, ‘See, we fixed the problem.’ But the city is not going to hold them accountable for the traffic backup and not take control of the lane.”