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New Chick-fil-A planned in north part of Santa Maria close to final approval

Dave Alley/KEYT

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A new Chick-fil-A restaurant planned in Santa Maria is being considered for final approval this week by the Santa Maria Planning Commission.

On Wednesday, Commissioners will consider a Planned Development Permit and Conditional Use Permit needed in order for the project to earn final approval for the restaurant. The Chik-fil-A would be located along North Broadway and Preisker Lane.

A Planned Development Permit is needed for this because it will replace a project previously approved by City Council that would have included a multi-unit development on the site.

"A Planned Development Permit is going to be required for the development of the restaurant and the modification of the, existing plan to allow the restaurant to replace the other two pad type buildings," said Frank Albro, Santa Maria Principal Planner. "The Community Development Department has coordinated the review, through all the city divisions and departments, and we have developed a set of conditions that would apply to the project if the Planning Commission does choose to approve the project."

The original concept for the Preisker Commercial Center development was approved by the Planning Commission and City Council back in 2016.

The plan that was approved included the construction of a 64,300-square-foot four-story hotel, a 3,300-square-foot fast-food restaurant with drive-through, and two commercial buildings consisting of a 6,500-square-foot multi-tenant retail pad, and a 5,500-square-foot sit down restaurant on a 5.0-acre site.

Since then, a Hampton Inn and Suites hotel and Wendy's restaurant have been built, each opening in 2019. The other locations on the property intended for the retail space and restaurant have been undeveloped.

"The Preisker Commercial Center originally had a space planned for 11,000 square feet of additional retail and restaurant floor space," said Albro. This Chick-Fil-A restaurant is going to be replacing that with a 5,000 square foot restaurant with a drive-through."

At the Chick-fil-A on Betteravia Road in the Enos Ranch Shopping Center, local customers were excited to hear a second location may soon be coming to the city.

"Love Chick-fil-A!" " said customer Erik Jensen. "They've got great fries, mac and cheese shakes, drinks. They got great customer service there. They're they're great. I look forward to seeing them."

"They have a friendly staff and the service is fast," said customer Patricia Sanchez. "Either in drive through or carry carry out or whichever way you go, the service is always really fast, and and they're really, really nice people in there, and the food is delicious. My kids and my husband, all of us, we're all big fans of Chick-Fil-A."

Due to the popularity of the Chick-fil-A franchise nationwide, its restaurants often produce long lines with its drive-through.

With that in mind, many in the community, as well as customers themselves have expressed some concern about potential impacts a new Chick-fil-A could present to the area.

"I can only imagine how it's going to get over there," said Sanchez. "I think it's it's going to create some issues for sure. especially when people get out of work, the traffic is already crazy right there, so it's it's going to cause a lot of traffic jam."

Albro said both city planners, as well as the developer have worked towards creating a plan that would help mitigate any detrimental traffic impacts.

"We've had the applicant submitted traffic analysis," said Albro. "We've reviewed that traffic analysis. We've also looked at the, plan for the drive-through. This drive-through, unlike others, is going to have more than sufficient drive-thropugh space. In fact, this one will have enough space to accommodate 34 cars in the drive-through stacking to place their order. Additionally, this site is well within the project site and not right next to the street, so you'll have all of that parking lot area in case the traffic does happen to overflow waiting for the drive-through. It's not going to flow out into the street. Additionally, Chick-Fil-A has worked with city staff and Caltrans. They're going to be extending the right turn lane at the Caltrans off ramp of Highway 101 onto Broadway to help, vehicles make the turn onto Presiker, and then additionally, the city staff has worked with the development folks to look at redesigning Preisker Lane, so there's going to be a restriping project, which will add another, turn lane at Preisker, so cars can make a right hand turn, and there'll be two dedicated left hand turn lanes at Preisker that will also involve relocating the bicycle lane out of Preisker Lane and creating a separate, off-street bicycle path that will extend all the way from Broadway, north through to the park site."

Should the project earn the approval from the Planning Commission on Wednesday, it would be allowed to move towards construction.

"If the Commission approves the project, that would be the final discretionary step for the project," said Albro. "The next step for the applicant would be to submit the building permits, and the building permit applications to start to work. If the Commission approves the project, we could see development on the site start as early is six to eight months from now."

Article Topic Follows: Local Politics

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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