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Still another Chick-fil-A proposed in Middletown


Another proposal for a second Middletown Chick-fil-A has been filed in the township building at a location less than a quarter-mile away from another proposed new establishment for the chain.

Florida-based Wilkinson Development wants to replace the vacant 6,200 square-foot former Ruby Tuesday at 1440 E. Lincoln Highway (Business Route 1) with a 5,428-square-foot Chick-fil-A with a multi-lane drive-through. The Ruby Tuesday had closed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The location is a 1.93-acre parcel adjacent to the Lowe's and a Wells Fargo Bank.

The Middletown zoning hearing board is scheduled to consider a special exception and four variances needed for the project at its June 14 meeting. If those are approved, the project would also need land development approval from the township supervisors in order to proceed.

This latest application for a Chick-fil-A comes as developer Waterstone Properties, the public and others are waiting to hear whether Chick-fil-A officials want to proceed with a new restaurant originally approved in November 2021 just across East Lincoln Highway in the Langhorne Square Shopping Center. While located within the center, the establishment would be on a separate tax parcel conveyed back to Waterstone by the new owner of Langhorne Square. The township supervisors recently approved subdividing the 1.88-acre piece off from the remainder of the center.

One of the factors being considered by Chick-fil-A at the Langhorne Square location is whether it wants to pay for an expensive package of road improvements that was a condition of land development approval, township officials have said. If one or both of the new locations come to fruition, the one or both would join the existing Middletown Chick-fil-A at Lincoln Plaza, about a mile away adjacent to the Oxford Valley Mall.

The Chick-fil-A proposed for the former Ruby Tuesday is located in both the C Commerical and M-1 Light Manufacturing zoning districts. The variances being requested are ones that would allow the drive-through, an opening time of 6 a.m. instead of the normally required 7 a.m., shorter than normal rear yard setbacks and a parking space ratio of 3.93 spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space instead of the normally permitted 4.5 spaces to 1,000 ratio.

By virtue of a mutual agreement, Chick-fil-A customers would also be able to park on the Lowe's parcel, according to the Wilkinson application filed with the township.

"This will not alter existing access points to Lincoln Highway as presently maintained and enjoyed by Lowe's and Wells Fargo," the application added. "The relief, if authorized, will neither alter the essential character of the neighborhood nor zoning district in which the property is located, nor substantially nor permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent properties, nor be detrimental to the public welfare.

"The variances if authorized represent the minimum that will afford relief to the applicant and represent the least modification possible to the regulations at issue."

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