Santa Barbara

SoCal City May Declare Chick-Fil-A Restaurant a ‘Public Nuisance' Over Drive-Thru Line

A Santa Barbara city report cites the “chronic adverse traffic impact" caused by the restaurant’s drive-thru line.

A Chick-fil-A restaurant is seen in Chantilly, Virginia on January 2, 2015.
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

A Southern California city is considering declaring a Chick-fil-A restaurant a “public nuisance” due to traffic safety issues caused by the location's drive-thru line.

The Santa Barbara city council discussed the matter at a meeting on March 1 and will continue a public hearing in early June. 

According to a city report, the restaurant's drive-thru line has caused a "chronic adverse traffic impact," blocking nearby State Street, sidewalks, disabled parking spots and bike lanes.

The restaurant opened in 2013, though the building was first approved as a Burger King drive-thru in 1978, according to the city. The following year, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting new or expanded drive-thru locations in Santa Barbara.

According to the city, customers at the fast food restaurant “routinely” ignore traffic control signs posted in the area. 

The city says attempts to informally solve the traffic problem have been unsuccessful.

“Over the last several years, the city has received numerous public comments regarding the vehicle queue at 3707 State Street,” the city report noted. “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.”

Steep gas prices have some food delivery drivers scaling back on work. KUSA’s Jaleesa Irizarry reports.

The city council has scheduled a public hearing for June 7, where officials will decide whether the restaurant will be declared a public nuisance.

Concern over long lines and traffic safety isn't entirely unheard of when it comes to Chick-fil-A restaurants.

The Bay Area city of Campbell rejected opening a new restaurant in 2020 for just those reasons.

Opponents of the new location said at the time the restaurant would draw 2,000 cars per day to the area and could also impact the character of the city.

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