For Hyattsville, chicken raises road crossing issues -- Gazette.Net


Whether the chicken will make it harder for people to cross the road is at issue in the proposed construction of a fast-food restaurant with a drive through near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro stop.

Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-Fil-A has applied for an amendment to the existing zoning laws allowing them to build a free-standing restaurant with a drive-through in a corner of the parking lot of the Mall at Prince Georges, on East-West Highway in Hyattsville.

“Hyattsville is a thriving, diverse community whose identity is really based on walkability and sustainability,” said Hyattsville City Councilman Patrick Paschall (Ward 3). “A drive-through would add significant traffic congestion to the area.”

In October 2013, the Planning Board approved the application, on condition that the drive-through be removed, according to county documents.

When the case went to the District Council in April, it was sent back to the Planning Board to reconsider the drive through and to allow more time for public comment.

A public hearing before the Planning Board is scheduled for July 17, during which the public may testify.

Hyattsville and University Park officials have submitted letters stating they are opposed to the drive-through aspect of the application, due to the impact they say increased traffic will have on the area’s walkability.

Paschall said the current zoning ordinances were put in place specifically to preserve and encourage pedestrian access between the Metro station and local businesses.

Paschall said the city does not want to seem anti-business, but wants to protect pedestrian safety, and said the city would have no opposition if the drive-through was removed.

Daniel Lynch III of McNamee & Hosea Law Firm in Greenbelt, the attorney representing Chick-Fil-A, said he could not say if the fast-food chain would proceed without the drive-through.

“My direction has been to move forward with the application for amending the Table of Uses as-is,” Lynch said.

Lynch said no expert has testified a drive-through would add traffic to the area.

Lynn Cotturo, a Hyattsville resident for over 40 years, said she welcomes Chick-Fil-A coming to Hyattsville.

“The citizens of Hyattsville and Prince George’s County have fought for years to have more high-end and/or variety in our choices for food and shopping and we should not make it difficult for those types of businesses to relocate to our community,” Cotturo said.

Cotturo, who said she does not drive, added that most of the Chick-Fil-A’s drive-through traffic would come from customers to the Mall at Prince Georges, only a few feet away.

Hyattsville resident Lawrence Paulson said he is opposed to any fast food with a drive through in that area.

“Current zoning is intended to promote a walkable community, a laudable goal,” Paulson said in an email. “That is reason enough to oppose this zoning change.”