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Planners have no beef with initial plan for Chick-fil-A in Eldersburg

County planners got their first taste this week of a new proposal by Chick-fil-A to build one of the franchise's restaurants in Eldersburg.

On July 23, the planning department's Technical Review Committee took a look at the preliminary plan for the store, which would be located on the west side of Route 32 in Eldersburg, just north of Liberty Road and Bartholow Road and about a block away from Liberty High School.

Plans call for a 5,000-square-foot store on a 1.56-acre tract that's adjacent to Zumbrun Funeral Home.

Patrick Varga, development review project manager for the county, said the store is relatively small, with two drive-through lanes for customers. Nevertheless, the store would have 136 seats — some outside — and an inside playground for children.

The Eldersburg location would be the chain's third in Carroll County. Both the other two are in Westminster — one in TownMall and the other along Route 140.

The Technical Review Committee essentially gives county department's a chance to weigh in on the preliminary plan, and Varga said no large issues were raised with the Chick-fil-A plan. He said he expects it to advance to a review before the county's full Planning and Zoning Commission in August.

"There were no problems ... no issues. It was well received," he said. "Everybody's gotta eat."

One aspect that Varga said has gotten particular scrutiny in the plan is traffic flow. The Chick-fil-A would not have a new entrance directly onto Route 32, but instead would take advantage of the existing Zumbrun entrance and also a new access road that will run along the front of the property south to Bartholow Road.

Varga said the Chick-fil-A site, and the adjacent vacant property on its south side, are part of the Cross Country Plaza development, which has a long-standing plan for the access road onto Bartholow.

He said once the road is connected, drivers will be able to access Chick-fil-A by making a turn from Route 32 onto Bartholow — then right onto the access driveway. Or if they are on Bartholow heading east toward Route 32, they'll be able to turn left onto the access drive in a designated left-turn lane that will be set apart with a curb.

People coming out of Chick-fil-A at Bartholow Road will be able to turn right toward Liberty High, but will not be allowed to turn left to get onto Route 32. People accessing Route 32 can exit from the existing driveway at the funeral home.

Additionally, drivers on Route 32 will be able to go in and out of both the Chick-fil-A and Zumbrun lots at that entrance.

Bartholow Road is a county road, but Route 32 is a state road, and Varga said the State Highway Administration will also need to review the access plan from Route 32. He said projections about traffic volumes will also be reviewed when the project goes to the planning commission.

For more details on the plan, contact Patrick Varga at pvarga@ccg.carr.org or call the county planning department at 410-386-2145.

The Georgia-based Chick-fil-A company has more than 1,615 locations in 39 states andWashington, D.C.In 2011, annual sales were more than $4.1 billion, according to the company's website.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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