Santa Barbara, California May Declare Chick-fil-A a “Public Nuisance” Due to Long Drive-Thru Lines


Santa Barbara City in California is considering declaring the Christian-owned restaurant, Chic-fil-A, a “public nuisance” due to long drive-thru lines that goes all the way to nearby streets, which causes traffic problems.

According to the city, “There is a chronic adverse traffic impact caused by the operation of the drive-through restaurant facility.”

The Santa Barbara City Council started a public hearing about the issue on March 1st and will continue the public hearing until June 7th.

Fox5 San Diego reported:

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A California city is considering declaring its local Chick-fil-A drive-thru a public nuisance – not because people dislike it, but because they seem to like it too much.

The last several years, Santa Barbara says it has received several complaints about cars in the drive-thru line backed up onto nearby streets, which has caused traffic problems, including collisions and cyclist safety issues.

“State Street is one of the City’s most important streets for moving people and goods,” city transportation engineer Derrick Bailey told the Santa Barbara Press News earlier this month. “It was never intended to operate with significant blockage.”

report conducted by the City’s Public Works Department stated that on weekdays, cars lined up for the Chick-fil-A drive-thru can block one of the lanes on State Street for up to 91 minutes. That number grows to 155 minutes on weekends.

“They are so successful, they have outgrown their site. It’s possible they were oversized for that site to begin with,” the S.B. Press-News reports Council Member Kristen Sneddon as saying.

For now, the city council has postponed the nuisance designation and granted Chick-fil-A additional time, until June 7th, to find and present solutions.

However, if the city council is not happy, and declares the restaurant a public nuisance, Chick-fil-A could lose its nonconforming use status for the drive-thru facilities.

“On behalf of myself, Chick-fil-A and the many team members, we sincerely regret that this traffic situation has come to this point and heartily wish to work in good faith with the City to resolve this matter once and for all,” Santa Barbara Chick-fil-A owner-operator Travis Collins told the S.B. Press-News.

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