Drawings submitted by Chick-fil-A show what the proposed new restaurant would look like at the corner of Cochrane Road and Sutter Boulevard. Photo: Contributed

The Morgan Hill Planning Commission is scheduled to consider permits at the Sept. 26 meeting for a new Chick-fil-A restaurant at the corner of Cochrane Road and Sutter Boulevard. 

Plans include a new 5,028-square-foot “quick-service restaurant building” on the 1.82-acre site in the Morgan Hill Ranch development, says a letter to the city from Chick-fil-A, Inc.’s design consultant 4G Development & Consulting. Plans also include about 74 interior dining seats, an outdoor patio that can accommodate up to 20 patrons and a two-lane drive-thru with a queuing capacity of about 55 vehicles. 

The city’s commission was scheduled to consider approval of the restaurant applicant’s conditional use permit and design permit at the Aug. 22 meeting, which included a public hearing. However, Chick-fil-A representatives requested a continuance of the review and hearing to the Sept. 26 meeting.

“There are some access issues they want to work out with the neighbor to the south of them,” Morgan Hill Development Services Director Jennifer Carman told the commission Aug. 22. “They felt they needed some more time to finalize those issues.”

Chick-fil-A submitted applications for the new restaurant at the Evergreen Development more than a year ago. 

The new restaurant, if approved, will employ 50-75 part-time and full-time workers, according to the letter from 4G. Employees on site during business hours will range from four to 15. Business hours would be from 6am-10pm. 

Vehicle access to the site will be through a right-turn only entrance driveway off Cochrane Road, 4G’s letter continues. Access will also be available to Sutter Boulevard to the east. 

The applicant has pledged to work with neighbors and the surrounding community.

“The project applicant/business operator will engage the community organization, neighborhood, and local leaders, etc. to address neighborhood concerns with any aspect of the business,” says the letter. “The project applicant/business operator will be available to meet with concerned parties and endeavor to create a mutually beneficial mitigation plan in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations.”

The owners of an office property at 18525 Sutter Blvd. have contacted city staff with concerns about Chick-fil-A’s proposal, asking the commission to reject the permit applications due to potential traffic congestion from the proposed restaurant’s drive-thru.

“If there is a business with a busy drive-through on the subject property, we’re concerned that traffic will back up on our driveway from two sources: 1) increased number of cars waiting to turn left onto Sutter Boulevard and 2) the potential overflow of the drive-thru queue which would overflow into the driveway,” says a Feb. 9 email from the office property’s owner, Joanne Conca. 

The email lists additional concerns related to vehicles cutting through the office site and the use of an existing easement to access the site. 

The proposed Chick-fil-A property is the former site of Marie Callender’s and Forbes Grill restaurant, whose vacant building is still standing. Chick-fil-A plans to demolish the building and raise a new structure for the fast food chicken restaurant, according to city staff. 

Surrounding developments include the Walmart shopping center across Sutter Boulevard, medical offices to the southeast and the 20-acre Evergreen Village Commercial Center. The Evergreen development includes a new Starbucks and 7-Eleven gas station and convenience store. A Holiday Inn Express hotel is also proposed in the Evergreen Village center. 

Also pending for the Evergreen development are permits for another fast food chicken restaurant, Raising Cane’s, proposed on the southeast corner of Cochrane Road and Butterfield Boulevard. 

An initial study of Chick-fil-A’s proposal at the site found that the project is exempt from state environmental guidelines that would require an in-depth review of the impacts. The initial study was conducted by city staff. 

The planning commission agreed to postpone the scheduled public hearing and permit review to the Sept. 26 meeting. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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