Opponents see flaws in Chick-fil-A's Fairfield proposal

The former Joe's American Bar & Grill property on the Post Rd. in Fairfield, Conn. Aug. 12,2021. A new Chick-fil-A restaurant is proposed for the property.

The former Joe’s American Bar & Grill property on the Post Rd. in Fairfield, Conn. Aug. 12,2021. A new Chick-fil-A restaurant is proposed for the property.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — Traffic concerns surrounding the potential Fairfield Chick-fil-A on Post Road is still the main topic of discussion at the town’s plan and zoning commission.

Michael Monteleone, a 34-year traffic impact and assessment analyst, said while some of the information the applicants provided is useful, there are many flaws within their report. He spoke as part of Attorney JoelGreen’s presentation. Green represents the opposition.

“I had the opportunity to review the two submissions from the applicant,” Monteleone said. “As far as traffic volume is concerned some of the traffic data was collected during COVID so the applicant has mixed and matched various sources.”

Attorney John Knuff, who represents the owners of 750 Post Road Associates LLC, the applicant, called Monteleone’s claims “preposterous.”

“We haven’t heard anything all that difficult to refute, but there have been some preposterous claims frankly and there are lot of things that we need to reply to,” Knuff said. “We are not terribly alarmed to any of these claims.”

Monteleone questioned the use of the ITE trip generation, something the commission also questioned during the first public hearing.

“I shared with the applicant my admiration for the ITE trip generation manual, I think it’s a fantastic source, but its not the only source in the world and it doesn’t cover every scenario,” Monteleone said. “It’s a generic manual that puts together information from all over the country for a very broad interpretation. Obviously, if you can have localized targeted data it’s a lot better than using the ITE trip generation.”

He said that while the applicants’ traffic counts at individual Chick-fil-A restaurants was an improvement, using the ITE trip generation on this particular case “falls short.”

Monteleone said the ITE trip generator analysis also did not consider the mid-day weekday period, which he said is a very busy time for fast food restaurants.

“We recommend that the applicant analyzes this crucial time period,” Monteleone said. “Because you already have high background volumes and high generation volumes, we feel clearly that this period needs to be analyzed to get a full depth and breath of what the full potential impacts are for this development.”

In the public hearings prior to Tuesday nights, the applicant asserted that the Fairfield site would have much lower traffic volumes than the Chick-fil-A location in Norwalk. Monteleone attested that this sentiment from the applicant could not be proven.

Chick-fil-A applicants believe the Fairfield location would relieve Norwalk of its current customer load, however, Monteleone said the two sites are far enough apart that they can coexist without affecting each others customers. He also said customer volume could be more than the applicants expect because it’s so close to Fairfield University and the city of Bridgeport, which doesn’t have a Chick-Fil-A.

He said a letter from the state Department of Transportation approving the applicant’s traffic data would address their concern.

The public hearing closed Tuesday night and Knuff will make his final rebuttal during the next meeting set for Oct. 26.