You're looking at an architect's rendering of a Chick-fil-A restaurant. To some people here in Massachusetts, the company behind it is unwelcome. In fact, in 2012, the former (and now late) Boston Mayor Thomas Menino went so far as to tell the company we don't want your kind here. Well, they've come knocking, over his dead body, so to speak.
The Mayor didn't have a beef with the chicken; It was strictly political. In the national debate over gay marriage, ultimately decided by SCOTUS, the President of Chick-fil-A had supported anti-gay marriage groups. No surprise there; The company is known as much for its support of Christian and conservative causes as for its chicken sandwiches. This earned them that public rebuke by the mayor and may have cost them some business in Boston and elsewhere. On the other hand, it also won them support of many like-minded people. (It should be noted that after the terrorist attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando that left many dead, the Chick-fil-A restaurants in the area provided food for the first responders and emergency personnel.) Regardless, what residents of Massachusetts think or do isn't determined by any one individual, least of all a grandstanding politician. And just to prove that, among the more than 1,900 Chick-fil-A restaurants in the US, there are four in the Bay State.
Better make that five. After almost three years of wrangling a Chick-fil-A now sits on one of the busiest thoroughfares in Hyannis, MA. The fact that it actually came to be built, all 5,100+ square feet of it, is something of a miracle.
From the very beginning when plans for the restaurant were announced, it created controversy. A group of locals had a hissy fit. They didn't want the chain on the Cape, mostly because of their politics. On its website, Chick-fil-A states that its corporate purpose is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” Chick-fil-A restaurants are also famous for being closed on Sundays to allow employees to rest, spend time with family and even to provide time for worship, if they wish. Ironically, in the very state where the Pilgrims fled for reasons of religious freedom, apparently to some today this is "controversial."
Never on Sunday is company policy. Chickens everywhere can breathe a little easier.
But Chick-fil-A persevered. In reviewing the paper trail left behind in the chain's efforts to obtain all the necessary approvals for siting their restaurant in Hyannis, one gets the impression that only those with deep pockets need apply. The company spent $258,000 in traffic mitigation costs alone. The cost breakdown:
- $94,000 for emergency vehicle pre-emption systems, or OPTICOM, along Route 132 from the Route 6 on-ramps to the Cape Cod Mall. (The fact that countless other businesses sit along this very stretch of roadway makes you wonder if they ALL were required to fork over moolah for the very same systems. Does the term "double-billing" sound familiar?)
- $77,000 for safety improvements at the intersections of Route 132 and Bearses Way, Enterprise Road and Independence Drive.
- $52,000 for pedestrian access improvements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards along Enterprise Road, Route 132 and the Cape Cod Mall driveway.
- $20,000 for design and installation of a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Bearses Way and Corporation Drive.
- $15,000 for traffic operations and traffic signal improvements at the same intersections.
(I wonder if the restaurant located directly across the street from Chick-fil-A also had to pay for similar traffic mitigation improvements. But I digress.)
Chick-fil-A must also offer a "commuting alternatives packet" to employees to encourage alternative methods of transportation, other than single-occupant vehicles, to get to work. The company must also provide a Guaranteed-Ride-Home Program to employees who car/vanpool, walk or bicycle to work for emergencies that may arise during the workday.