Chick-fil-A wants to be in O’Hara |
Valley News Dispatch

Chick-fil-A wants to be in O’Hara

Joyce Hanz
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
A zoning notice posted on the former Rita’s Italian Ice building in Fox Chapel Plaza informs residents that Chick-Fil-A wants variances so it can place a restaurant there.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Chick-Fil-A is proposing to place a restaurant on the former site of Rita’s Italian Ice in Fox Chapel Plaza in O’Hara.

A Chick-fil-A restaurant soon could be coming to the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Chick-fil-A last month filed for a building permit in O’Hara for construction in Fox Chapel Plaza along Freeport Road where the now-closed Rita’s Italian Ice building is located.

“We look forward to working through the approval process with … O’Hara Township and are excited by the prospect of joining this vibrant neighborhood,” Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Callie Bowers said. “We hope to have the opportunity to serve new guests delicious food in an environment of genuine hospitality.”

The township’s zoning hearing board fielded a request from Maser Consulting on behalf of Chick-fil-A to obtain the necessary variances for construction.

O’Hara Township Manager Julie Jakubec confirmed Chick-fil-A’s actions.

“Chick-fil-A has made applications and it’s currently at the planning commission level,” Jakubec said.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, founded in 1967, is popular for its original chicken sandwich. It operates more than 2,400 restaurants in 47 states and Washington, D.C.

The chain operates 19 locations in Southwestern Pennsylvania, according to its website. The closest ones to the Alle-Kiski Valley are in Monroeville, Hempfield, Cranberry and Ross.

Chick-fil-A has climbed the ranks among national fast-food chains and is ranked third behind Starbucks and McDonald’s in revenue, with more than $10 billion in American store sales, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Jakubec said a traffic study was completed and Chick-fil-A is working with PennDOT to comply with state and township ordinances.

The traffic study is under review by a separate traffic engineer, Jakubec said.

Fox Chapel Plaza owner Alex Condon was unable to comment, citing “leasing confidentiality issues.”

Issues addressed in the application by Chick-fil-A include glare from lighting; determining the number and size of signs; storage of outdoor equipment and materials; lot, yard and height requirements; parking and design standards; and landscaping.

Per township regulations, landscaping on the property will require a 10-foot planting strip separate from the public street and at least one tree and at least three low-level shrubs.

The canopy over the drive-thru would be required to be at least 50 feet from the front property line and lights can’t produce a “strong, dazzling light or a reflection of a strong dazzling light or employ unshielded illumination sources beyond its lot lines or onto any public road.”

Aspinwall resident Luke Rice, 21, said he would love to see a Chick-fil-A in Fox Chapel Plaza.

“I am a huge fan of Chick-fil-A, and I do believe that it will create more traffic, but it would also likely help surrounding businesses because the plaza would become more popular,” he said.

The township planning commission could take up the matter at its Nov. 12 meeting.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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