Chick-fil-A to open in South Strabane early next year

July 23, 2014

Construction on Washington County’s first Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant will begin in September, with an opening date set for early next year.

South Strabane supervisors on Tuesday night unanimously approved the final land development plans for the restaurant at the Old Mill shopping center after the fast-food chain requested and was granted a variance on the number of parking spaces needed.

The 4,900-square-foot restaurant with 136 dining rooms seats and a double drive-through will be situated on a lot near Max & Erma’s and is expected to open in January or February.

“We’re looking forward to being a part of the second wave of the (Old Mill) development,” Chick-fil-A development supervisor Scott Goodson said.

The vote was preceded by a testy exchange between Supervisor Ed Mazur and the company’s local attorney, Jonathan Kamin, over whether the restaurant was in compliance with the township’s ordinance regarding parking spaces. Kamin said the company requested a variance to reduce the number of required spaces from 113 to 66, which is closer to its national average.

“Sorry our ordinances don’t comply with your national averages,” Mazur said.

“Actually, your ordinances don’t comply with anything I’ve seen in Western Pennsylvania,” Kamin said. “There’s no more land to be had for this piece of property.”

Kamin said the lower number of spaces is closer to what the restaurant needs because 60 percent of its business is from drive-through customers. He added South Strabane’s ordinance, which requires more parking spaces for fast-food sites than sit-down restaurants, is “out of whack” compared to other communities. The township’s zoning board allowed the variance last month.

Meanwhile, a plan to expand a restaurant and bar at The Golf Club of Washington at 599 Country Club Road was tabled because it did not provide enough new parking spaces on the grounds. Ken Westcott, who represented the golf club at Tuesday night’s meeting, said he has been given conflicting information from the township engineer and other officials about how many new spots are needed in addition to the 72 spots for the nine-hole golf course.

“I’m not getting a clear answer on that,” Westcott said. “This has been a frustrating process. I just want to get an answer for this process.”

He said he would be able to provide a plan with more parking spaces but wants a definitive answer from the township before coming back to the board. The supervisors plan to revisit the golf club’s expansion plans at next month’s workshop meeting.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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