MCAS Miramar, Airport Authority: Chick-Fil-A's next San Diego location unsafe

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 21:49:32-04

Workers in one of San Diego's busiest areas are excited about plans for a new Chick-fil-A near their offices, but now there's a fight to get it built.

Chick-fil-A wants to open its next restaurant on Scranton Road in the Sorrento Valley/Mira Mesa area, in the heart of the Golden Triangle. The location would be across from where Scott Rieker works at Sorrento Valley Optometric.

These days, Rieker drives four miles across Mira Mesa Boulevard when he craves Chick-fil-A for lunch.

"You're looking at 25 to 30 minutes just to get the sandwich and get back," he said.

Rieker said he'd prefer to walk to the new location once it's built.

However, it's not that simple, as Chick-fil-A's plan is being held up because San Diego County Airport Authority officials said the site isn't safe.

In a statement, Chick-fil-A said the restaurant would be safe.

"This is standard legal process for approval for this type of project. We have been informed that this is a safe and appropriate place for a restaurant," the statement said.

The Airport Authority's concern has nothing to do with the land, but what's above it -- fighter jets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar fly right over where the restaurant wants to build.

"Sometimes you think you have to duck because they're coming in that backdoor and out the front door they're so loud," Rieker said.

The Airport Authority said Chick-fil-A's location is in the base's "Accident Potential Zone," which guides planning around airports. In this case, the plan restricts concentrations of people, including fast food restaurants, under the flight path. The agency rejected the Chick-fil-A last year.

Rieker noted the area is already filled with eateries and businesses. The Airport Authority only has power of future development.

"Planes fly over all the time," Rieker said. "We're probably in just as much danger of them landing on us here as they would be on there."

The city may agree with Rieker. It's proposing to overturn the Airport Authority's decision and allow Chick-fil-A to build its nearly 3,000-square-foot restaurant on Scranton Road. The San Diego City Council is slated to vote July 11 to reverse the decision.

MCAS Miramar recommended the city not approve the project in the interest of public safety, a public affairs officer said. The recommendation came also because of Department of Defense development guidelines.

Rieker said he wouldn't fear going over there. He usually gets the chicken sandwich and sometimes fries. If it's across the street, he said he'd have extra time to walk off the extra calories.