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Chick-fil-A one step closer to arriving in Mount Airy, with council approving property transfer

The Mount Airy Town Council unanimously voted to transfer town property to Chick-fil-A, taking a step forward in the process of bringing the chicken restaurant to town.

“This is really fairly simple,” said J. Brooks Leahy, outside counsel for the franchise. “Chick-fil-A is very much interested in building a restaurant at this location. There is an opportunity for Chick-fil-A to purchase some additional property that the town owns and is really of no particular use to the town.”

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According to Leahy, that additional property would increase the original size of the restaurant from 3,296 square feet to 4,001 square feet and increase parking from 24 spaces to 37 spaces. The property, at 1705 Ridgeside Drive, would replace a Pizza Hut location that went up for sale about 10 months ago.

“Our small chunk of property that is going to be deeded over to the Chick-fil-A is being done so for the amount of $25,000,” Mount Airy Council President Larry Hushour said. “So, the town is actually selling the property in order to facilitate this and provide the added parking.”

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Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg also asked the Chick-fil-A representatives how soon the town could expect to actually see the restaurant in town.

There isn’t an exact date for completion of the Chick-fil-A because they are still in the process of getting plans approved by the town’s planning commission.

“Right now, we have submitted the concept site plan that’s under review and received some comments from the town. We’re waiting on some comments from the county as part of their review,” said Andrew Stine, a project manager with Bohler Engineering. “So, Chick-fil-A plans to move forward with this as expediently as possible, working through the appropriate plan approvals related to the site plans going to the planning commission, the technical documents.”

Stine also said the approval process could take about eight to 12 months in total, after which Chick-fil-A would typically move to the construction phase.

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Before the council meeting began, there was a public hearing on the Chick-fil-A, with one resident voicing support and another expressing concern regarding additional traffic in an already congested area.

Rockinberg responded to this concern by adding that Chick-fil-A will have to go through the planning process and they are very strict about pedestrian flow, traffic flow, and stacking.

According to the town’s attorney, Tom McCarron, after Monday’s resolution the intention is that a contract will be drawn up and negotiated between the parties.

Year of the Woman plans

Councilwomen Patricia Washabaugh and Pamela Reed started the council meeting with a presentation on Mount Airy’s celebration of the Year of the Woman.

The celebration kicked off with a proclamation by Rockinberg on Jan. 28, with more celebratory events to come throughout the year.

According to Reed, there will be a dress for success fashion show on Oct. 4, and there are pending plans to close Main Street for about an hour on Aug. 16 to line the street with the town’s women and take a “historic aerial photo.” There is “some talk” of taking the event county-wide and have all municipalities take an aerial photo on that day at the same time.

There will also be an educational series on Facebook that will, throughout the year, spotlight women in the community who have benefited the town’s past, present and future.

“Part of the process is not forgetting the struggle that sort of got us here to the centennial anniversary,” Reed said.

There is a lot more coming, Reed said, and residents can keep posted on the Mount Airy Year of the Woman Facebook page.

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