JVG_201117_CHICK

A new Chick-fil-A restaurant will be constructed on a portion of the Blain’s Farm & Fleet parking lot in Janesville.

JANESVILLE

Chick-fil-A has gained city approval and hopes to start building a new restaurant in the Blain’s Farm & Fleet parking lot along Humes Road next spring.

The plan commission unanimously approved Monday a conditional-use permit and special authorizations for the project.

Plan commission chair Kathy Voskuil said the city council will not need to approve the project.

The Georgia-based fast food chicken chain plans to build a 5,000-square-foot restaurant on 1.6 acres on the Farm & Fleet property.

The restaurant will be on the corner of Humes Road and Pontiac Drive. It will not be accessible from Humes Road, but there will be four entrances along an access road that will feed into Pontiac Drive, said Brian Schweigl, senior planner.

The plan commission approved three authorizations for the project in excess of the conditional-use permit:

  • The minimum setback from the south property line off Humes Road will be reduced from 80 feet to 33 feet to accommodate a canopy to be placed over the drive-thru lane.
  • Minimum parking stalls will be reduced from 71 to 68 stalls.
  • Wall signage will be allowed on the north elevation of the building, which would otherwise be out of line with the city’s sign ordinance.

City staff determined the canopy would not be an issue if its setback is closer to the road, Schweigl said.

The reduction of three parking stalls is minimal and not seen as a hindrance to the project, Schweigl said.

A third-party traffic impact analysis suggested one change: Hash markings and signage at the frontage road and Pontiac Drive intersection advising drivers not to block the intersection, Schweigl said.

The commission recommended those changes be made sooner rather than later. Officials initially suggested the road marking changes be made during the state Department of Transportation’s Highway 14 reconstruction planned for 2022, but commission members did not want a gap in time between the restaurant’s opening, planned for fall 2021, and the completion of the Highway 14 reconstruction in 2022.

The reconstruction project will add an additional lane on Pontiac Drive adjacent to the site to allow for better traffic flow. A recreational path will also be constructed along Highway 14 and will run along the Farm & Fleet parking lot, Schweigl said.

Those using the paved recreation path will have access to the Chick-fil-A building, Schweigl said.

Justin Lurk, principal development director for Chick-fil-A, said the Janesville store will feature an updated design.

The restaurant’s second drive-thru lane will extend past the point of order and through to pickup, allowing for flexibility with online pickup during peak times, Lurk said.

The drive-thru window will double as a door, allowing staff to walk in and out from the drive-thru to take orders or deliver food, Lurk said.

This will be the city’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant. The nearest Chick-fil-A restaurants are in Madison and Rockford, Illinois. The Rockford location is similarly located in a Lowe’s parking lot.

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