Chick-fil-A eyes new location

Mark Urban, The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.
·3 min read

Feb. 23—TRAVERSE CITY — Chick-fil-A isn't giving up on Garfield Township.

Chick-fil-A has submitted a new special use permit application with the township to build a restaurant and hotel on property at 2700 N. U.S. 31 South. The space is between the Williams Honda dealership at 2650 N. U.S. 31 South and the Williams Kia dealership at 2750.

"They've submitted a new application for a special use permit for a different location on U.S. 31," Garfield Township Planning Director John Sych confirmed on Monday. "It will be introduced on the March 10, 2021 planning commission agenda."

The special use permit application dated Feb. 5, 2021 lists Chick-fil-A Principal Development Leader Justin Lurk as the applicant. Versa Real Estate Principal Steve Robinson in Royal Oak is listed as the owner of the property under 2700 N. U.S. 31, LLC.

Messages to Lurk and Robinson were not immediately returned.

According to the impact statement prepared by engineer Cheryl Scales of Progressive AE in Grand Rapids, "Chick-fil-A is applying for a special land use permit to construct a restaurant with a drive thru. The current site was single family residential. Our plans are to construct a new Chick-fil-A restaurant with a drive thru in coordination with a new hotel behind our site."

The proposed Chick-Fil-A restaurant "will be 4,978 square feet and will seat 104 inside the building and 20 outside at the patio," the application stated. "There will be parking for 36 cars and a drive thru window that could accommodate up to 47 cars if needed."

If approved, the application says the Chick-fil A will be constructed in one phase beginning in August 2021 and completed by February of 2022." Construction will be coordinated with the hotel development, which will share access.

Sych said the property Chick-fil-A is looking at it is one of the last "undeveloped commercial property" along U.S. 31 South north of South Airport Road.

Headquartered in Atlanta, the restaurant chain in the spring of 2020 submitted a special use permit application to Garfield Township for property further north, including the site of the current Flapjack Shack restaurant, before withdrawing it on the last day of June.

"It's been about a year since their last (special use permit) application," Sych said.

The owner of Flapjack Shack, 3980 U.S. 31 South, said it would have relocated.

In a Record-Eagle story dated July 3, 2020, Lurk sent an email to Sych saying the company couldn't reach an agreement in negotiations over an easement issue with Edgar Roy, attorney for neighboring land owner Memorial Gardens.

The Flapjack Shack has an easement for a driveway over land Memorial Gardens owns between the restaurant and Walgreens, Sych previously said. Chick-fil-A planned to reconfigure the driveway to send drive-through traffic along the back, and to give departing diners easy access to a traffic light on U.S. 31.

Lurk said in the email that the planned improvements would have benefited both Chick-fil-A and Memorial Gardens.

"However, it feels they felt otherwise and were looking to capitalize monetarily on a big corporation trying to come into the market," Lurk said in the email.

Lurk said he hoped "our paths can cross again" in finding another site in Garfield Township — which seems to have come to fruition.