Proposed Belle Meade area Chick-fil-A needs zoning variance

Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has proposed building a new restaurant on the fringe of Belle Meade at the southeast corner of Harding Road and Woodlawn Drive.

Chick-fil-A’s plan calls for the demolition of a former Regions bank building that sits across from Saint Thomas Hospital to clear the way for a new street-level structure that would include 28 outdoors seats, two drive-thru windows, parking placed in the rear and accommodations for walk-ups. For now, there are no plans for indoor seating, though that’s still subject to change.

To become a reality, the Metro Planning Commission must grant the popular chicken restaurant a variance from the city’s urban design overlay. Chick-fil-A still hasn’t presented an official zoning variance request. 

“The UDO has expressed language that says a restaurant can have no drive-thrus on corner lots,” said Metro Councilman Jason Holleman, who represents the area. “This would obviously have a drive-thru on a corner lot.”

Holleman said Chick-fil-A has offered making some accommodations in exchange for the UDO variance, including the elimination of one access point along Woodlawn and the construction of a sidewalk beyond its own property up to The Ensworth School. He also said the restaurant plans to plant a canopy of trees to shield the street’s view from the drive-thru. 

Getra Thomason, development manager of Chick-fil-A, did not respond to a voicemail The City Paper left Tuesday.

Neighbors met at The Ensworth School Wednesday night to discuss the proposal. Some say the new Chick-fil-A could bring additional traffic to an already congested part of town and oppose the idea of a drive-thru.

James Bristol, president of the Woodlawn Area Neighborhood Association, said he’s remaining neutral about the proposal, but his neighbors are fairly split. He said he’s received more than 100 emails about the subject over the past few weeks.

“We’ve had a wide response to it,” Bristol said.

“My impression is that the people who live the closest to the store are probably most against it,” he said. “They’re really against the drive-thru. That seems to be the sentiment.

“But, I would say other than that, more people favor Chick-fil-A,” he said. “They like the product, they like the company and they would like to see it.”

Chick-fil-A is already planning opening a new restaurant on Charlotte Pike near the Nashville West retail center.

14 Comments on this post:

By: letloverule on 2/17/11 at 11:29

Another fast food establishment....lovely

By: TITAN1 on 2/18/11 at 5:33

Very good chicken, though!

By: dxfret on 2/18/11 at 7:13

I have mixed feelings about this proposal. No doubt, the increased traffic would be an issue....just take at look at Chik-Fil-A in Brentwood, it's always extremely busy that they have had to add another drive-thru lane last year.

There is another vacant bank just down Harding Road at the corner of Kenner Ave in a much more commercial area. Perhaps that might be a better location..

Chik-Fil-A is among the best fast food chains around. The quality of the food is much better than most and the stores are very clean and well appointed.

What I don't like is their not so subtle religious overtones. Things like "praise music" on the restaurant's sound system are a real turn off. Closed on Sunday too.

By: youmustbekiddingme on 2/18/11 at 7:36

The commoners might actually DRIVE through the Meade!! What is society coming to?

By: richgoose on 2/18/11 at 7:43

This particular piece of property is far too valuable in my opinion to be used by any fast food agenda. Then again I am not a fast food person. If this variance is approved it will be a sad end for this property.

By: dxfret on 2/18/11 at 7:53

It should be noted that this particular location IS NOT in the City of Belle Meade. It is located in Metro.

By: tenn40 on 2/18/11 at 8:20

Great food! Love the fact that they are closed on Sunday so their employees have the opportunity to worship.

By: TITAN1 on 2/18/11 at 8:25

tenn40, well said. Atheists will never understand.

By: HokeyPokey on 2/18/11 at 9:20

Hate the fact that they are closed on Sunday, but then maybe they won't hire Jews or Muslims so it don't make no nevermind.


By: howelln on 2/18/11 at 9:42

I love chik-file-a but this is a bad location traffic wise. The other vacant bank would be a much better location. The regions location would make a nice, smaller, indoor restaurant.

By: Funditto on 2/18/11 at 11:25

Wish I had thought of this. They will make a killing. And I'll be first in line for some chickens.

By: Joey849 on 2/18/11 at 1:31

Has anyone mentioned that directly across the street (on the opposing corner) is Taco Bell (with a drive thru)?

It's a real pain to get in and out of - even with the renovations going on now - what a pain!

By: BanjoWalnut on 2/18/11 at 5:54

Technically this isn't even in Belle Meade. It's Belle-Meade-adjacent and therefore, not really all that interesting.

Don't get it twisted, losers.

By: richgoose on 2/19/11 at 8:27

BanjoWalnut..........I agree that this area is not in Belle Meade technically but it is also not in Antioch or West Nashville or Bordeaux either. This area is only of importance to those of us who have children or grandchildren in MBA and Ensworth or St.Cecilia. It also harbors a hospital that has a very low percentage of underclass patients. (St.Thomas) I have to drive through this area in order to get to Belle Meade.