Auburn City Council voted for approval of the authorization of a drive-thru extension for the Chick-fil-A on Magnolia Avenue at Tuesday’s meeting. The extension is part of a larger plan to develop a parking deck and student-housing complex on West Magnolia Avenue.
The new drive-thru, which enters on Thomas Street and exits right on West Magnolia, will have a capacity to queue up to 36 vehicles said Brett Basquin, a representative of the developers behind the new plans.
“The existing Chick-fil-A can only have 12 cars in the drive-thru, the thirteenth vehicle is in Magnolia,” Basquin said. “We have 36 just within our queue lanes.”
The drive-thru isn’t the only thing to be expanding with Chick-fil-A’s new plans, the parking lot will also expand in size and capacity once the development plans are completed.
“The total number of parking spaces on the existing Chic-fil-A site is 16 spaces,” Basquin said. “We’re providing over 160 spaces for this commercial area including Chic-fil-A."
Auburn Planning Director Forrest Cotten said the plans were recommended by the planning commission to help alleviate the traffic problems on West Magnolia Avenue that have persisted for years.
“This is without question, from my department’s perspective, a significant improvement over a current situation that has just been a real mess for a number of years,” Cotton said. “As you know, Chick-fil-A gets increasingly popular. I remember when the back up on mag was at traditional meal hours. Now, the backup on Magnolia is the entire time Chick-fil-A is open.”
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
While the plans were approved, the vote was split 6-3 as there was opposition to the ethics of the development.
Travis Wisdom, a representative of the Cribb Corporation, spoke on behalf of the Subway restaurant adjacent to the Chick-fil-A.
“What’s happening here is a rerouting of traffic that is going to now encircle my client’s business,” Wisdom said. “So, you’re going to have 750 kids, all of whom may or may not have a car at some point plus all of Chick-fil-A’s customers, and their all being rerouted in a circle. It’s almost as if it’s a siege on the Cribb Corporation.”
Wisdom argued that the new plans will block off access to the Subway’s two entrances and cause a negative impact on the daily business for the restaurant, which he said is one of the highest grossing Subways in the state. Councilmember Kelley Griswold echoed Wisdom’s concerns about he plans.
“When I first saw this I was very optimistic that it would solve some problems,” Griswold said. “But the more I studied it I’m not convinced that it really will.”
Griswold said he agreed that to approve of the plans would be to favor one business over another, which isn’t the responsibility of the city. Council members Connie Fitch-Taylor and Bob Parsons also voted against the new plans.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman