Planning panel OKs exception for Chick-Fil-A

Neighbors had objected to fast-food outlet


At a tame meeting yesterday,Howard County Planning Board members voted 4-0 to approve a special exception that will allow a proposed drive-through Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Ellicott City, off Executive Park Drive.

The board will give its recommendation to the Howard County Board of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear the case June 8.

Neighbors have angrily denounced the plans, saying the fast-food restaurant would create traffic problems and lower the values of their homes.

After a heated Board of Appeals meeting in the fall, Chick-Fil-A officials withdrew their application.

In marked contrast to that meeting, only one neighbor showed up yesterday to voice concerns about congestion.

"There are still people who range from very concerned to extremely upset," said Chris Innes, the vice president of a group of homeowners who live near the proposed restaurant site.

Joseph W. Rutter Jr., director of the county's Department of Planning and Zoning, said that if neighbors are upset, a fast-food restaurant would not be out of place at that location.

"It's a technical report, not a popularity contest," he said.

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