Chick-fil-A sandwiches could be served in Richmond before 2025 ends.

Mike Timko, a civil engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates of Indianapolis, said March 13 that time frame is realistic after the Richmond Board of Zoning Appeals granted the restaurant company five variances of development standards. The variances make the restaurant viable at 5901 National Road E., the former Steak ’n Shake site.

If all aspects of the project continue smoothly, Timko, who represented Chick-fil-A at the BZA meeting, said construction is planned to start late in 2024 or early in 2025. Construction is usually a six- to nine-month process, he said.

Mike Timko of Kimley-Horn and Associates presents information about a planned Chick-fil-A restaurant to Richmond Board of Zoning Appeals members March 13. Photo by Mike Emery

Chick-fil-A will raze the former Steak ’n Shake that closed in May 2019 and build a new structure on the unusually shaped lot at the corner of National Road East and West Eaton Pike. Chick-fil-A’s site plan filed with its variance requests indicates the restaurant would have 70 seats inside, four tables with 16 total seats outside and 59 parking spaces. A two-lane drive-thru would wrap around the building.

The Chick-fil-A would sit next to the IHOP restaurant and must maintain a pass-through from West Eaton Pike to the IHOP, which also has an entrance from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store’s parking lot.

The BZA voted 3-0 to approve the five variances. They were:

  • Permit relief of the minimum side-yard setback to accommodate an order-point canopy for the drive-thru line on the east side of the building.
  • Reduce the minimum front-yard parking setback along West Eaton Pike, which is a second front yard because of the corner lot.
  • Increase the maximum total square footage for wall signage. Chick-fil-A plans wall signs on all four sides of the building.
  • Reduce the minimum setback for a pole sign along National Road East on the northeast corner of the lot.
  • Permit a trash receptacle to encroach inside the front-yard setback along West Eaton Pike.

Earlham Commons

Placement of trash receptacles for the nearly completed Earlham Commons strip mall close to a neighboring residence involved a long and somewhat contentious discussion. BZA members did eventually vote 3-0 to permit the trash receptacles within the required buffer yard between the parking area and residence.

While concrete was being poured last summer at the 531 National Road W. development, the developer was informed that overhead utility lines did not offer enough clearance for trucks to empty the trash receptacles in the planned location east of the new building. A pad for the receptacles was poured on the south side instead, closer to the residence at 219 College Ave. than city code permits. The receptacles will be outside the kitchen window of the neighboring residence. 

“They made an error, and they expect us to live with it,” said Michael Birkel, one of the neighbors, adding, “I don’t see how that’s just.”

The pad will have fencing and landscaping to camouflage the trash area. BZA members empathized with the neighbors. However, the variances were approved.

Other actions

In two other actions, the BZA unanimously granted variances for accessory structures. Barbara Gephart received a variance that will enable a two-car garage behind her South Seventh Street residence, and Kelly Cox received a variance for a building to house dump trucks and other large equipment for his business on South G Street.

Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the March 20 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.