Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread Approved by Stafford Planning Board

Mar 07, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill The property is sited between a KFC restaurant and a car dealership.

The application for Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread was approved March 6 by the Stafford Township Planning Board for 434 Route 72 West.

Opening is not expected until next year, the applicant’s attorney Eric Goldstein told The SandPaper after the meeting.

“The hope is to do it as soon as possible, but it looks like we’re pushing toward opening for Memorial Day of 2020,” Goldstein said.

A start date for construction is not specified yet, pending several remaining approvals.

“I suspect construction will start after getting the remainder of the necessary approvals ... it takes three or four more months, maybe four to five months,” he said.

State CAFRA (Coastal Area Facilities Review Act) permitting is needed, and so is Ocean County Planning Board approval for the site. “We do have Department of Transportation approval, which is a big one,” Goldstein noted in a telephone interview.

The property is sited between a KFC restaurant and a car dealership. Woods are in the back. The site previously held a bank and a medical office, but the building was torn down when the lot was offered for availability. Currently, the lot holds machinery for the nearby Route 72 reconstruction project.

Parsi Investments LLC plans a 5,262-square-foot Chick-fil-A restaurant and a 4,833-square-foot Panera Bread restaurant.

Parking space for 63 vehicles for Chick-fil-A and 74 for Panera Bread are planned.

Drainage, onsite traffic flow and signage (the applicants agreed to one sign rather than two) were among questions board members discussed with the applicants and their professional team during a lengthy hearing.

“The real change from the original plan really regards the planting of additional vegetation on the site to try and make it as green as possible,” noted attorney Goldstein, who said the two restaurant firms are committed to green practices and recycling.

The additional greenery will include more plantings around wetlands buffers.

When the attorney was asked about the site’s proximity to another chicken restaurant, KFC, he said, “I just think it’s a good location. If you look at the traffic pattern of Route 72, you’re between Long Beach Island and the parkway; it’s a great spot.”

He added, “The American Dream to have so many stores in close proximity to each other, this is what we’re trying to accomplish in 2019, the economy being what it is –responsible development occurring that benefits everybody in the area is really a win-win.”

A fairly unique practice, at least locally, will be the Georgia-based Chick-fil-A’s policy against opening on Sundays due to company ideals. That holds true in all 2,000-plus Chick-fil-A locations. However, spokespersons said exceptions have been made to provide emergency assistance to people in need in a natural disaster.

The planning board approval has yet to be formalized by a memorializing resolution at the next meeting March 20. The resolution will detail the conditions of the board’s site approval.

Maria Scandale


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