GRAND RAIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Chick-fil-A’s proposal to open a restaurant along the East Beltline at Celebration Village has been shot down for the second time.
The idea was to replace the currently vacant Fajita Republic restaurant near Celebration! Cinema North, along the East Beltline north of Knapp Street NE, with a fast-food chicken franchise store.
But the Grand Rapids Planning Commission denied the plan at its meeting Thursday. Grand Rapids Planning Department Director Suzanne Schulz said concerns about traffic volume and a proposed drive-thru as part of the restaurant ultimately led to the denial.
Schulz cited the traffic backups caused by the recent opening of a Chick-fil-A in Gaines Township as a major factor in the decision.
“The Beltline handles over 30,000 cars a day. Chick-fil-A’s peak traffic time is the same as the peak traffic time on the Beltline,” Schulz told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone on Thursday night.
She said that the volume of traffic the drive-thru would generate and the backup it would cause would make the Beltline “impassable.”
A similar plan was presented to the commission last year and rejected in December.
The new plan included a 1,200-square-foot office space with a standalone entrance to make the building a multi-use. But the commission did not believe the addition of the office space altered the plan enough to change its previous decision.
Schulz said Chick-fil-A would have to wait a year before submitting a similar proposal. She added that if the drive-thru was deleted from the plan, planning staff could OK the restaurant without having to go before the commission for approval.
Chick-fil-A could also appeal the denial or file a lawsuit in circuit court, according to Schulz.