NJ town rejects Chick-Fil-A as restaurant chain expands in state
SPRINGFIELD (Union) — There will be no new Chick-Fil-A along Route 22 for now after Springfield officials rejected a proposal to open a restaurant in the complex that has housed a Barnes & Noble for decades.
As reported by TapInto, the township Zoning Board unanimously passed on the fast food restaurant plan at Wednesday night’s meeting.
The bookstore has remained open for the winter holiday season, an employee confirmed by phone on Thursday, despite a closing announcement earlier this year.
Just two miles east, a Chick-Fil-A restaurant has been open since 2013 in Union Township along Route 22.
Plans were first pitched in Springfield a year ago for opening a new Chick-Fil-A on the same, westbound side of the highway, partly in response to “customer overflow” that Union has consistently seen, according to the same report.
Why was Chick-Fil-A plan opposed?
Criticism was immediately voiced by residents about traffic flow and how such a popular restaurant would impact neighboring homes, as the commercial property sits between Route 22 and Hillside Avenue.
The same traffic and quality of life concerns were brought up in the months to come, during meetings in April and October, according to TapInto.
While not on the record in Springfield, social justice concerns were sparked about a different Chick-Fil-A, further north, also this year.
The restaurant chain was announced as a new tenant along the Garden State Parkway at the service area in Bloomfield — which two elected leaders called “incredibly disappointing” pointing to the company’s past support of anti-LGBTQ organizations.
“Chick-fil-A has a long, documented history of opposing same-sex marriage and supporting anti-LGBTQ legislators and organizations,” Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia said in a January statement, as quoted by NJ.com.
“I implore the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to reconsider this decision and to instead choose a restaurant that is more in line with our values.”
An online petition was also started in opposition to the Bloomfield rest stop plans, garnering about 2,000 signatures.
Those plans appear to remain unchanged, as the service area was temporarily shut down in August, for full demolition and revamp.
Amid polarization over the family-owned company’s unwavering “Biblical principles,” Chick-Fil-A has rapidly expanded across the state, with 57 restaurants open as of November.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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