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Chick-fil-A one approval from reality in Irondequoit



Take a peek at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru traffic without having to wait in a timelapse of West Ridge Road from our drone.

A Chick-fil-A restaurant is now one approval away from becoming reality in Irondequoit.

The Town Board granted the project a special-use permit at a hearing Tuesday night.

Next, and finally, developers will seek site-plan approval from the town’s Planning Board to put a Chick-fil-A with a drive-thru at 1115 E. Ridge Road at Portland Avenue, now home to a closed Staples store.

The Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at Irondequoit Town Hall, 1280 Titus Ave. There will be a public comment period, although because of the coronavirus pandemic, the town is trying to keep in-person meetings to about 15 people, including board members, said Supervisor Dave Seeley. Residents also can submit comments to the Planning Board in advance via Irondequoit.org, he said.

Key concerns

In town meetings about the project thus far, and on social media, two main issues have emerged as concerns: traffic tie-ups and Chick-fil-A’s political leanings.

Regarding traffic, Seeley said the Town Board is satisfied with traffic studies presented by developers, and board members don’t believe that the restaurant will cause backups onto East Ridge Road and Portland Avenue.

“They did a good job of documenting the traffic impact,” Seeley said. “And it’s such a big site and can accommodate the cuing of many cars. We really didn’t see any cause for concern.”

As part of its approval process, the Planning Board also will consider traffic.

In addition, Seeley said if the project moves forward, the town would insist that the company come up with a plan to deal with a spike in traffic that Chick-fil-A openings cause when they first open.

Backups from Standish Road onto West Ridge Road in Greece were the norm for months after Monroe County’s first Chick-fil-A opened there in April 2018.

Seeley noted, however, that at 2.23 acres, the Irondequoit site is larger than the one Greece, which is 1.3 acres, and therefore will be able to accommodate more cars. The Irondequoit restaurant itself will be the same size as the one in Greece — around 5,000 square feet.

As for the fast-food chain’s politics, which include a history of making charitable contributions to anti-gay groups, Seeley said he’s sympathetic to people raising the issue but that town officials can’t look at projects through that lens.

“When we make a decision, we cannot take personal political elements into account,” he said. “We have to look at it through the lens of land use and development. … Frankly, I have never eaten at a Chick-fil-A because of that history, but I welcome the development.”

He urged people who disapprove of Chick-fil-A’s politics to express it by not spending their money at the business.

The Irondequoit Chick-fil-A would be Monroe County’s third to open, likely a year from now. A Chick-fil-A is under construction on Marketplace Drive at Jefferson Road in Henrietta and may open by October.

More: Several fast-casual restaurants could be headed to Irondequoit.

Reporter Marcia Greenwood covers general assignments. Send story tips to mgreenwood@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.

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