Villa Metro residents question drive-thru-only Chick-fil-A concept 

Chick-fil-A currently has one location in the Santa Clarita Valley, and is looking to add two, maybe four, more. Signal file photo
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The Chick-fil-A outreach is under way for plans involving a location next to Villa Metro, which has brought traffic concerns among residents who fear the long lineups, while the property owner says the concept is intended to keep the line moving better than at the mall’s location. 

The new location is proposed for 21613 Soledad Canyon Road, according to a Chick-fil-A flier distributed recently in the community. The plans are for a 1-acre plot adjacent to Santa Clarita Lanes, which is in between the bowling alley and the residential community. 

Villa Metro resident Cindy Dorfmann, during a community meeting of her homeowners association near the end of last year, said the group was introduced to a representative from Chick-fil-A, who was there to talk about the project and answer questions.  

“They were kind of surprised we were not happy,” Dorfmann said, adding the presentation was to about 20 or so residents, some who gathered in person and some who attended virtually. Most of the concern involved the traffic impacts, she said, adding that’s why she started a petition using She’s received support from the neighboring Greenbrier Estates, too, she said, with the petition gaining 360 signatures of its 500-person goal since it started Nov. 29. 

“It’s crazy already as it is with the traffic over here,” she said, referring to challenges getting around Villa Metro. “It’s going to be a mess.” 

Tom Cristi, the owner of the bowling alley and the proposed Chick-fil-A site, said he was aware of how popular the mall location is, and that’s why the plans are trying to take every precaution to mitigate the impacts for neighbors. 

“We’re going to have a Chick-fil-A with no walk-in seating, it’s a drive-in only, that will handle up to 60 cars at a time,” Cristi said. 

He said there will be much more of a potential for queuing on the property, with space for up to 60 vehicles in two lanes — while the location at Valencia Town Center typically looks like it has a very long line when it has about 30 cars because there’s only one lane for the queue. Cristi added the plans called for him to lease the property to Chick-fil-A.   

“This is a well-planned, well-orchestrated deal between us and Chick-fil-A to eliminate those kinds of complaints that are always being heard at the mall,” he said. 

A statement from Chick-fil-A stated the company was looking forward to working with the community on the project.

“Chick-fil-A is committed to being a good neighbor in Santa Clarita,” according to an email from Maya Prasad, a representative for Chick-fil-A. “We conducted a queuing analysis and noise study to ensure that our drive-thru design will efficiently serve customers without disrupting traffic to the surrounding area. We value all feedback from the community and will continue to work closely with city officials and residents throughout the city review process.”

Dorfmann said nearby Bowman High School offers a population of students who will want to hang around the parking lot and area surrounding such a popular fast-food chain, which operates from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday. 

Cristi said that some of these concerns are inherent in any new development, but he said the plans will be nothing like the noise level provided by the former soccer center on the site, which pre-dated the construction of Villa Metro and ultimately moved away from the location after its new Villa Metro neighbors complained to the city. 

“We’ve been working on it for quite some time now,” Cristi said, adding the plan would give the now-unused property a chance to create jobs and tax revenue. “It’s a nice deal for us, it’s a nice deal for Chick-fil-A and it gives that property a more permanent use.”  

The city of Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission would need to sign off on any such changes, as the property is located in the city’s Planned Development Overlay Zone.   

That designation is for areas that are “highly visible or major intersections or thoroughfares,” according to city Planning Manager Patrick Leclair, in a previous interview after the plans were first announced. 

City officials confirmed Tuesday there’s been no date set for the consideration of the project. 

The initial notice of preparation to the city looked at “a new 2,771-square-foot drive-through restaurant” that has a “a drive-through stack with a 46-car capacity and 17 on-site parking stalls.” 

The city’s first Chick-fil-A, which is located at the Valencia mall, opened July 29, 2010.  

Chick-fil-A also confirmed in August its interest in an additional location, also in Valencia, at 27430 The Old Road. No further information has been made available on that effort, which is being sought through the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.  

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