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Santa Barbara City Council takes next step in declaring Chick-fil-A a public nuisance

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 02, 2022

The Santa Barbara City Council is taking the next step in declaring the Chick-fil-A restaurant located at 37307 State Street a public nuisance.

According to the council, in recent years, the queuing from Chick-fil-A's drive-through onto State Street has created serious traffic congestion, as well as hazardous conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and those with disabilities.

On Tuesday the council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney in preparing a draft ordinance with findings to support that the operations at the Chick-fil-A restaurant are a public nuisance.

Council members also continued the public hearing to June 7 when the ordinance from the city attorney will be presented to the council.

In the meantime, city staff is being directed to work with Chick-fil-A to evaluate approaches to improve their operations that are being seen as a nuisance. The council is also requesting that Chick-fil-A representatives provide a letter by March 11 outlining the continued mitigations they are implementing, such as the use of a traffic control staff person and expedited order processing, along with monthly traffic survey reports to city staff.

"On the council, our primary responsibility is for the protection and preservation of public health, safety, and welfare," Councilman Eric Friedman said. "In this case, there is another high priority for the council when you have a quasi-judicial hearing, and that's to ensure that a fair hearing takes place and a transparent process. So we have to ensure that we have both of those as we go forward on this."

The public hearing will return to the council on June 7.