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Chick-fil-A not coming to Napa after restaurant dropped from project
Development

Chick-fil-A not coming to Napa after restaurant dropped from project

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Chick-fil-A

The front of a Chick-fil-A location in Las Vegas in 2016. The restaurant chain is reportedly no longer a part of a pending shopping center plan in Napa.

The Chick-fil-A restaurant included in the yet-to-be approved Soscol Square Shopping Center project has been dropped by Canadian developer Ronmor Real Estate Fund LP, and won’t be coming to Napa, city officials say.

Chick-fil-A and the developer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It wasn't therefore clear exactly why and how the restaurant was dropped from the plan.

The project is now left with a Kohl’s department store and two commercial pads, according to city planner Michael Allen. The remaining development will still be coming before the city’s planning commission at a yet undetermined future date.

The proposed Chick-fil-A has faced opposition from several city residents, including members of the city’s LGBTQ community, because of the company and owner’s long history of donating to charities with anti-LGBTQ stances.

Several Napa residents expressed opposition to the restaurant at Napa City Council and Napa Planning Commission meetings in June. In a Napa Valley Register letter to the editor last month, Renee Mortell Cazares urged Napa residents to write letters to the Napa Planning Commission and Napa City Council to reject the business.

“We have businesses owned by people in our beautiful city with different political parties and religious affiliations, working together to make Napa strong and even stronger,” Cazares wrote. “There is no more egregious restaurant owner than the CEO of Chick-fil-A in his ignorance of hate.”

Anne Sutkowi-Hemstreet, community programs manager of First 5 Napa County and director of the Rainbow Action Network, was one community member who spoke against Chick-fil-A during the public comment portion of the June planning commission and city council meetings. She said in an interview Wednesday that she’d tried to work with both the developer and Chick-fil-A to establish conditions for the development, such as adding inclusive artwork to the building or establishing a commitment to hiring LGBTQ people or people of color. Sutkowi-Hemstreet said the developer was open to pursuing these options, but Chick-fil-A was not.

She added that she was happy the developer dropped Chick-fil-A from the project and that she’d thought she was going to be rallying people to protest outside of the restaurant. Now, Sutkowi-Hemstreet said, her community organizations can focus more on supporting LGBTQ families in the city.

“Ultimately our community benefits from this decision,” Sutkowi-Hemstreet said. “We’ll probably get a better restaurant there, a more inclusive option I hope, and our LGBT community members can feel safe and supported. I’m actually giddy about it.”

California Democrats gambled by accelerating the date for the state's Sept. 14 recall election that could cost Gov. Gavin Newsom his job. 

You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.

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