By Shawn Raymundo

San Juan Capistrano is another step closer to having its own Chick-fil-A by 2020 after city council approved a resolution for the company to submit construction plans for its proposed walk-up and drive-thru-only restaurant.

Councilmembers voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 6, to pass the resolution allowing for the demolition of the former Citibank building on Del Obispo Street and replace it with the Chick-fil-A.

With the council’s latest approval, Chick-fil-A has now obtained all the necessary land entitlements to develop the property, according to Assistant City Manager Jacob Green.

“This allows Chick-fil-A to submit construction plans to the city to obtain the necessary demolition and building permits to begin demolition of the current Citibank building and construction of the new restaurant building,” Green said in an email.

Green noted that the city doesn’t expect Chick-fil-A to turn in the construction plans until April, which would mean the building permits to begin construction will likely be issued around early summer.

For about the past five years, the national chain has been working with the city to search for the right site, Chick-fil-A Development Manager Jennifer Daw told the council.

Daw said that the city and Chick-fil-A will have a “wonderful relationship,” and that the new location will provide competitive wages to its employees.

The prospect of bringing a Chick-fil-A to the city was met with positive feedback as a handful of citizens spoke in favor of the restaurant. The addition of a Chick-fil-A, some of them said, would help the local economy by creating jobs and increasing sales-tax revenue to the city.

Local resident Jim Elder said he frequents the Chick-Fil-A in Laguna Niguel, but he’d prefer that the money and taxes he spends on food go toward a local business.

“I’ve been going to Laguna Niguel, spending some of my food money,” he said. “And the taxes that I spend in Laguna Niguel should be going to San Juan. … I strongly support the installation and the proposal to have that restaurant here.”

San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce representative David Malt said the new Chick-fil-A would bring about 60 jobs locally.

“Welcoming new business in San Juan Capistrano strengthens the economy, and approving this proposed Chick-fil-A helps keep San Juan Capistrano healthy and robust,” Malt said. “Chick-fil-A deserves to be a part of San Juan Capistrano’s business community.”

The target opening of the new Chick-fil-A is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020, according to the city.

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