Santa Barbara, California, may declare Chick-fil-a a “public nuisance” over its long drive-thru lines that form outside the popular fast-food chain.
“The city’s traffic engineer, police chief and community development director have evaluated the situation and believe that the persistent traffic back-up onto State Street is a public nuisance and that the nuisance is caused by the operation of a drive-through at the Chick-fil-A restaurant,” according to a city traffic report.
Chick-fil-a has one location in Santa Barbara that was established in 2013. The long lines of patrons using its drive-thru block one lane of traffic for up to 90 minutes on weekdays and for as much as 155 minutes on Saturdays, CBS News reported.
“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,” Santa Barbara city council member Kristen Sneddon said at a council meeting this month.
Chick-fil-A representatives asked the city council to hold off on designating it a “public nuisance” to work on addressing the traffic delays, including hiring third-party traffic control to help with traffic and negotiating an offsite parking agreement. The council said there will be a continued public hearing until June 7 after unanimously approving a step toward designating it a public nuisance.
Chick-fil-A Santa Barbara franchise operator Travis Collins told Fox News Digital that “we want nothing more than to be a good neighbor.”
“That’s why, as the local restaurant Operator, I’ve been working diligently with the city and our internal partners to continue mitigating traffic concerns, hiring extra Team Members to serve our guests, engaging third-party traffic control to help expedite traffic and much more,” he said, noting that “Chick-fil-A strives to serve not only our guests, but our communities at large.”
Other residents say the issue of long lines has long been a problem and only now are the complaints receiving widespread attention.
“In the past, it felt like the complaints were taken half-seriously,” resident Rick Closson told the Los Angeles Times. “Over the years, you’ve had Chick-fil-A putting together their fixes that really did not do much to fix the traffic problem. 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.'”