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Chick-fil-A is coming to North Livermore. But not without a couple of shots fired across its bow from the Livermore City Council.
The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the popular Georgia-based eatery’s plan to build on a recently annexed acre-and-a-half parcel on North Livermore Avenue near Interstate 580. The item was on the council’s consent calendar, meaning it was considered a routine matter and the fast-food giant fulfilled the conditions set by the city for approval.
But that didn’t mean everyone was happy about the franchise’s record as a donor to causes not considered friendly to LGBTQ rights.
Councilmember Brittni Kiick made the motion to approve the consent calendar, but said her vote was only to approve the restaurant’s final map, fulfilling the city’s expectations.
“It’s my job to approve a final parcel map, not make any judgments about whether businesses are good or bad,” Kiick said. “And I recognize there’s been some harm done to the LGBTQ community by Chick-fil-A. But again, that’s not my role here, to state what kind of places I believe people should shop at. That’s their choice.”
Kiick added, “People have every right to vote with their dollars and get their fried chicken elsewhere.”
Councilmember Bob Carling also said he recognized it was an administerial vote but recalled Chick-fil-A’s representative facing the council in September 2020.
“That person claimed that there’s no discrimination whatsoever within Chick-fil-A,” Carling said. “And I reminded him that I didn’t believe that for a second, and (the rep) also suggested that most of the blame went to the media, for misrepresenting Chick-fil-A’s position regarding equity and inclusion. And, again, at best I find that a weak argument.”
“I don’t see that Chick-fil-A’s past practices and statements reflect the values that we hold in Livermore,” Carling said. “Like my colleague Councilmember Kiick, I will not be participating in buying fried chicken at Chick-fil-A.”
“It’s my job to approve a final parcel map, not make any judgments about whether businesses are good or bad … to state what kind of places I believe people should shop at. That’s their choice.”Councilwoman Brittni Kiick
The city now has the option to absorb the remaining 21.5 acres of the current 23-acre parcel as two parcels of open space. The 4,821-square-foot restaurant, its parking lot and dedicated landscaping will be re-zoned commercial from its current designation as open space.
Chick-fil-A would be responsible for frontage improvements along North Livermore Avenue, nearby stream bank stabilization, construction of a small portion of the Arroyo Las Positas trail along the south side of the project, and northbound left turn lane improvements at the intersection of North Livermore and Arroyo Plaza.
The restaurant will also contribute $225,000 to future trail construction in the area. The city won’t take possession of the open space until the Zone 7 water agency can accept responsibility for the 21.5 acres.
Chick-fil-A has faced criticism for years over company executives and its foundation donating to charities that oppose LGBTQ rights. The company has said it re-directed its charity focus in 2019 to education, homelessness, and hunger.