Chick-Fil-A expansion OK’d

Concord Township Council Tuesday night approved the Chick-Fil-A expansion plans for its restaurant at Route 1 and State Farm Drive. Council also agreed to a settlement with the trampoline park Sky Zone over back taxes.

Tyler Prime, the attorney for Chick-Fil-A, said during a conditional use hearing last month that the township’s Planning Commission had already recommended approval for the expansion that includes constructing a 240-square foot addition to the current building and installing a second drive-thru lane.

Chad Baker, Chick-fil-A's project manager, said during the March 8 hearing that the renovations would make the store "more relevant from an aesthetic standpoint and also from a functional standpoint."

Council gave unanimous approval for the drive-through as well as the land development plan for the expansion. The approval came with a list of 11 conditions, as read by Council President Dominic Pileggi.

Conditions include requirements for the installation of a decorative safety railing along the outside dining area, limiting the drive-thru window hours be restricted to 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, installing additional stop bars at the drive-thru pick up windows, and that a bus shelter be installed on State Farm Drive.

The restaurant could be closed for two months during the work.

Township solicitor Hugh Donaghue told council members that an agreement had been reached with Sky Zone to pay back $90,000 of an estimated $150,000 past due tax bill. Sky Zone reportedly hasn’t paid the township’s amusement tax for approximately four years. He later said the company hadn’t paid the amusement tax since opening, which was in 2013. It did pay other taxes to the township.

Pileggi interjected that Sky Zone is now paying the tax, that they are now “on the right track.”

The township had filed suit against Sky Zone for failure to pay the amusement tax after the township tax collector Berkheimer was unable to collect the money. Negotiations then got underway in 2019, but they were stalled because of the COVID pandemic, Donahue said. The complaint was filed when an accommodation couldn’t be reached, but judge Whalen suggested settling the matter out of court.

“Considering the legal fees that would be involved,” Donaghue said, the cost of litigation, the time when this matter would finally be heard it would appear that this matter wouldn’t he heard until 2022 or 2023.”

He recommended agreeing to settle because, “If we continue to pursue this, we’re going to be engaged in discovery, we’re going to be engaged in deposition, and then there’s the time factor. We won’t get to a trial until 2022 or 2023 and then there may be appeals.”

He added that there is the factor of economic uncertainty, not knowing the survivability, viability of the company.

“For all those reasons, I think you should strongly consider the resolution [to settle],” he said.

With the agreement, Donaghue said, Sky Zone would agree to wire the payment to the township on or before April 13.

The vote to settle was unanimous.

In a brief message after the meeting, Councilman John Crossan said Phil Stoop, Sky Zone's vice president, is one of the Democratic Party candidates for Concord Council. Stoop was unavailable for comment.

 

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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