Chick-fil-A applies to open at Knollwood Mall, creates controversy

Planning commission motions approval at public hearing March 8


Chick-fil-A applied to take the place of the TCF Bank on the northwest corner of Highway 7 and and Texas Ave. The City Council plans to meet to make a final decision.

According to Gary Morrison, representative of the Chick-fil-A applicants, a new Chick-fil-A franchise plans to take the place of TCF Bank in Knollwood Mall.

“Chick-fil-A is proposed to be located where TCF Bank is currently located at the Knollwood Mall at the northwest corner of Highway 7 and Texas (Avenue),” Morrison said. “TCF bank would be removed and be replaced with the Chick-fil-A.”

At a public hearing held before the St. Louis Park Planning Commission March 8, founder of the Allies of St. Louis Park Susan Niz expressed concerns about Chick-fil-A’s reliability.

“Chick-fil-A has a right to come to St. Louis Park, so we as the community have the right to request that they basically go above and behind their past reputation of being anti-LGBTQIA,” Niz said.

According to Niz, the Allies group promotes equality in the St. Louis Park community.

“(The Allies of St. Louis Park) is really about everyone in our community standing up for what we think is right and standing up for all individuals and groups who may have their rights threatened or compromised, especially in our current climate,” Niz said.

Morrison said the public hearing concluded with a motion to move forward with the Chick-fil-A application.

“The Planning Commission recommended approval of the project. They confirmed staff’s concerns about the lighting and also clarified the landscaping side of (the project),” Morrison said. “All of that (information) will be brought forward to the (City) Council.”

Freshman Hayden Heitzinger said she doesn’t support Chick-fil-A’s development in Park because of their past reputation of discrimination.

“I would not support (Chick-fil-A coming to Knollwood) because I feel like we have a good community here and I feel like it would just ruin it,” Heitzinger said. “I want everyone to feel comfortable with their surroundings.”

Niz said while Chick-fil-A is not obligated to implement gender neutral bathrooms, adding them supports an anti-discrimination philosophy valued by the community.

“Some of the things that we are asking of them, like (adding) gender neutral bathrooms, they are not required by law to do,” Niz said. “The reason we’re asking them to do that is as a show of support and so that (the Allies of St. Louis Park) can be more accepting of them coming in (to Park).”

Morrison said the technical aspects of the Chick-fil-A project presume convenient for potential customers.

“It’s a good layout I think, as far as fast food is concerned,” Morrison said. “(There is) a lot of room for people to maneuver and get to (Chick-fil-A) safely and that’s really what we look for in the mechanics of it.”

The City Council plans to conduct a meeting after receiving the recommendation from the Planning Committee to make a final decision on the development of the Chick-fil-A project.