During its Monday meeting, Aberdeen City Council approved two plans to move forward a new Chick-fil-A.
The restaurant's developers presented the council with a layout of the proposed Chick-fil-A on Beards Hill Road near MD Route 22, which involved leasing land from the Holiday Inn to create a 1.04-acre parcel. The current site occupies .79 acre, and additional acreage was needed for construction and parking purposes.
The council unanimously approved the subdivision plans but there was not complete favor when it came to site development plans.
Located near the Holiday Inn and Olive Tree, the 4,720-square-foot building would have two drive-through windows and 100 seats inside, project manager Joseph Ucciferro said in presenting the site development plan. He added that Aberdeen's Chick-fil-A would be similar to the Forest Hill location that opened in July but slightly smaller.
There are two entrances into the site but Chick-fil-A's developers called for closing the entry point nearest Route 22 to create a safer environment, Ucciferro said.
Council members said they were concerned about traffic around the restaurant.
"I see a real traffic nightmare there," Councilwoman Sandy Landbeck said.
"I'm not against the site," Landbeck added. "Heaven forbid, my grandchildren would never speak to me again...but...I'd be really interested to see what the state has to say."
The State Highway Administration has not approved the plans yet, said Ucciferro, who noted that a meeting with the state agency was taking place later this week on the planned Chick-fil-A site.
"Having lived in Aberdeen since 1969, the locals call Beards Hill and Route 22 'crash corner' anyway, without your business being there," Councilwoman Ruth Young said. "I continue to have serious concerns about traffic and this particular project."
The motion to approve the site development plan passed, 4-1, with Young casting the dissenting vote. The council's approval was contingent on State Highway Administration approval.
In addition to the OK from the State Highway Administration, Chick-fil-A is awaiting sign-off from the Maryland Department of the Environment, which Chick-fil-A Development Manager Matthew Stellmaker said he anticipates receiving by January 1.
Responding to Young's concern about contamination due to the site's past use as a gas station, Stellmaker said that construction includes installation of a "liquid boot," or vapor barrier, that seals off utility connections underground.
Stellmaker said construction is projected to begin by late February.