STAFF PERSONS:                         Stephen B. Waller, AICP               

PLANNING COMMISSION:                   August 30, 2005

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                  OCTOBER 5, 2005


sp 05-17 Chick-Fil-a Drive-Through


Applicant’s Proposal:


The applicant has submitted a preliminary site plan for a development consisting of a 4,508 square foot fast food restaurant (Attachment A).  The site review committee has reviewed the preliminary site plan and determined that it can be approved administratively with the approval of a special use permit to allow a drive-through window serving the restaurant.  The property, described as Tax Map 45 - Parcel 93A, contains 21.733 acres zoned Highway Commercial (HC) and Entrance Corridor (EC).  This site is located in the Rio Magisterial District in front of the Lowes Home Improvement Store on the north side of Woodbrook Drive [State Route 1417] at its intersection with Seminole Trail [U.S. Route 29 North] (Attachment B).  The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Community Service in Development Areas Neighborhood 1.




The applicant is requesting approval of a special use permit in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows drive-in windows serving or associated with the by-right uses allowed in the HC zoning district.


Character of the Area:


The site of the proposed restaurant is in the parking lot of Lowes, and access will be shared between the two establishments.  All surrounding properties either share the HC zoning designation with this site, or are zoned the Planned Development - Shopping Center, which allows similar types of uses.


Staff has identified that there is one other existing fast food restaurant (Taco Bell at the Gardens shopping center) and a financial institution (UVA Community Credit Union headquarters of Berkmar Drive) that both drive-through windows, within a one-mile radius of this site.


Comprehensive Plan:


Requests for special use permits within the Development Areas are assessed for conformity with the recommendations set forth in the Land Use Plan.  In addition to being a use that is allowed by right in the HC zoning district, fast food and other types of restaurants are also recommended as primary uses in areas designated for Community Service land uses. 


Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Natural Resources and Cultural Assets” sets goals for preserving the scenic resources that are recognized as being essential to the County’s character, economic vitality and quality of life.  The Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts were implemented to further the County’s efforts toward attaining the Comprehensive Plan objective of maintaining the visual integrity of important roadways.  The Architectural Review Board (ARB) addresses the aesthetic impacts of development on those roads by applying the County’s various design standards for development within the Entrance Corridor. 


Because this site is adjacent to the U.S Route 29 Entrance Corridor, the ARB has reviewed the site layout and building design of this proposal for conformity with the County’s adopted design guidelines, and recommends approval of the special use permit with conditions that are included with the final action on this request (Attachment C).  Those recommended conditions of approval are intended to address the long-term maintenance of a row of hedges; the color of the of an awning proposed to extend over the drive-through window; and, the design and maximum height of a retaining wall facing the entrance corridor.  Staff notes that the grading has been revised to eliminate the need for a retaining wall and the concerns for potential damage to the existing tress, and therefore, ARB condition number 3 is no longer necessary.  However, the other two recommended conditions are still relevant for ensuring that the drive-through lane area will be effectively screened and that the window will be designed to meet the entrance corridor design guidelines.




Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance, as they relate to the proposed bank drive-through:


The Board of Supervisors hereby reserves unto itself the right to issue all special use permits permitted hereunder.  Special use permits for uses as provided in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,


Uses that implement drive-through windows are often characterized by high volumes of customers that are served during the peak hours of operation.  Therefore, the concerns for the impact upon adjacent properties are mainly focused on ensuring that the stacking and loading movements of vehicles entering the drive-through lanes do not obstruct the free passage of off-site vehicles that are attempting to access adjacent properties.  However, the proposed restaurant would take access from an internal, private travelway and have one-way circulation within its own parking lot.  This traffic pattern will allow the drive-through lanes to be separated from the entrance which is on the opposite side of the building.   Therefore, staff has identified no significant reason for concern that the stacking of the drive-through traffic would delay the passage of off-site traffic and does not believe that the proposed drive-through window would impose any detriment upon adjacent properties.


that the character of the district will not be changed thereby,


Fast food restaurants are allowed as by-right uses in the HC zoning districts and Section of the Zoning Ordinance allows for drive-in windows serving or associated with the by-right uses allowed in the district.  The Architectural Review Board has reviewed the preliminary site plan along with conceptual architectural drawings of the proposed structures for consistency with the County’s design guidelines for entrance corridors.  The ARB has recommended approval with some specific conditions that applicable to the approval of this special use permit (see Attachment C).  Because the proposed drive-through window supports a by right use, and a favorable recommendation has been given with respect for the possible aesthetic impacts upon the entrance corridor, it is staff’s opinion that approval of this proposal would not result in changing the character of the district.


and that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,


Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance, as set forth in Section 1.4, and identified no conflict that would arise as a result of its approval.


with the uses permitted by right in the district,


Fast food restaurants are allowed by right in the HC zoning district.  This request to allow a drive-through window is consistent with the existing fast food restaurants that have been approved within this zoning district and other similar districts throughout the County.  Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that the proposed drive-through would also be in harmony with by-right uses located within the district.


with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,


There are no additional regulations in Section 5.0 that specifically address restaurants or other uses that have drive-through windows as an accessory use to their standard services.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.


Section 4.12.17.c(2) of the Zoning Ordinance provides standards for internal circulation related to one-way access aisles.  These regulations require a minimum travelway width of up to sixteen (16) feet when deemed necessary by the county engineer in order to allow for bypass traffic.  In this case the applicant is providing a 16-foot aisle width throughout the full extent of the drive-through lane.  This should allow bypassing traffic to leave the lane from any point in line.  Furthermore, the site plan proposes the installation of required one-way signage and pavement markings in order to direct traffic in a safe and orderly pattern.


The stacking for the drive-through lane and site circulation were both analyzed by the Current Development Division’s engineering staff during review of the preliminary site plan accompanying this special use permit application.  The engineering review resulted in no outstanding concerns for these items (Attachment D).  Therefore, it is staff’s opinion that this site could be developed, as planned, in harmony with the regulations that are intended to promote the public’s health, safety and general welfare.




Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this request:


1.         There should be no expected conflict between vehicles stacked in either of the drive-through lanes and off-site traffic passing the entrances to this site;

2.                  The drive-through lane would offer the opportunity for customers that do not want to access the window to bypass stacked vehicles that are still awaiting service.




The following factors are also relevant to this consideration:


1.                  There is an existing fast food restaurant and a bank located within close proximity to this site.

2.                  The provision of drive-through services can be considered a standard function of fast food restaurants, which are by-right uses in the HC zoning district.




Staff has reviewed this proposal for compliance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and, and recommends approval of the special use permit SP 05-17 with the following conditions:


1.                  Development shall be in general accord with the site plan titled “Chick-Fil-A Preliminary Site Plan Documents”, and initialed SBW-dated August 22, 2005.

2.                  The existing evergreen hedges and trees along Woodbrook Drive and the Route 29 North EC shall remain fully intact and allowed to reach mature height and habit typical of the species.  Pruning shall be limited to the correction of damage and the overall maintenance of the health of the plantings, and,

3.                  The color and material of the awning on the drive-through elevation shall be resolved to the satisfaction of the ARB.




A -       Special use permit application and site plan (revised 7/08/05)

B -       Tax Map/Vicinity Map

C -       Architectural Review Board comments

D -       Engineering review comments

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