Feathers are flying over fried chicken purveyor Chick-fil-A's plans to open up shop in Mountain View.
The city council is scheduled to weigh in on the matter tonight when it hears two appeals of Zoning Administrator Peter Gilli's decision earlier this year to allow the Atlanta-based company to build a 4,433-square-foot drive-thru restaurant at 1962 W. El Camino Real.
A disagreement over land use, not Chick-fil-A's involvement with anti-gay groups, is spurring opposition to the project. Filed separately, the appeals specifically take issue with the drive-thru element.
One appeal argues the drive-thru will potentially lead to more collisions between cars and bicyclists, essentially flying in the face of Mountain View's efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly.
The city's Environmental Planning Commission actually discussed the possibility of a drive-thru moratorium earlier this year, but ultimately decided it should be part of an upcoming zoning ordinance update.
Both of the appeals predict that noise and air pollution produced by vehicles idling in the drive-thru will negatively impact residents who live near the site, which is home to an aging Sizzler restaurant.
Gilli acknowledged the project would affect neighbors. But Chick-fil-A's policy of being closed on Sunday coupled with its plans to shut down the drive-thru at 10 p.m. reduced the impacts to an acceptable level, according to a report he co-wrote with Deputy
In addition, Chick-fil-A agreed to accept responsibility for the behavior of its patrons with the understanding that a pattern of complaints could lead to a further reduction in business hours.
The drive-thru is expected to serve 60 cars per hour during lunch time and 20 cars per hour in the evening.
Gilli was also won over by Chick-fil-A's plan to create a shared, traffic-signal-controlled driveway with Diddams party store. The driveway would align with Clark Avenue and actually make an otherwise dangerous intersection safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles, according to the report.
Gilli and Denis ultimately concluded opposition to the project was based largely on a desire to retain Sizzler or a policy-level position that drive-thru uses should not be allowed on the site.
"After two public hearings, the Zoning Administrator received no opposition about the drive-through from residents who live in the vicinity of the project," the officials wrote in their report.
But Mountain View resident Stephen Friedman said there is widespread opposition to Chick-fil-A's plans in the Gemello neighborhood in Mountain View and the Eastender neighborhood in Los Altos.
Photographs of long queues at a Chick-fil-A that recently opened in San Jose indicate the Mountain View location will attract far more than 60 cars during lunch time, Friedman said.
In addition to sharing concerns about the environmental impacts of the drive-thru, the residents also don't want to see the removal of three heritage trees on the site, Friedman said. According to Gilli's report, at least two of the trees are diseased and the third would need to come out to make way for the drive-thru.
"The Chick-fil-A drive-through plans include the destruction of several trees," Friedman wrote in an email to The Daily News.
"This alteration of the landscape, in addition to the increased traffic, litter, and fried-chicken odors, signal a diminished quality of life and lower home values for these households."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Mountain View City Council will consider two appeals of a zoning administrator's approval of a Chick-fil-A drive-thru restaurant at 1962 El Camino Real.
WHEN: Tonight, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 500 Castro St.