Board Members Concerned About Popeyes Traffic

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy’s Board of License Commissioners is giving a new fast food restaurant one month to address traffic concerns caused by its opening.

The board met on Tuesday to consider whether or not to grant a common victualler license to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at 502 Southern Artery. The restaurant’s proposed hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

At their meeting Tuesday, board members chose to allow the restaurant, which specializes in fried chicken, to remain open with a temporary license until their meeting on Nov. 10 to sort out traffic issues caused by its opening on Oct. 2.

Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy said he knew restaurant would be popular once it opened, but the backups seen on Southern Artery during the first weekend were too much.

“Everyone knew it would be popular, but we were hoping for a different picture,” he said. “We’re just asking for trouble on a road like that.”

Inspectional Services Director Jay Duca, the board’s vice chairman, said he too had expected the restaurant to be popular but not as busy as it had been. He proposed giving the restaurant one month to address the traffic concerns.

“We want all of our businesses to be successful, but not with the traffic impacts on Southern Artery in this case,” Duca said.

He noted the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2018 granted a special permit to Popeyes for the drive-through with the understanding it would not cause traffic backups on Southern Artery. That special permit could be revisited if the traffic situation does not improve, Duca said.

Christopher Harrington, the attorney representing the Popeyes franchisee, said the traffic seen over the opening weekend was caused by pent up demand from area residents who had been waiting for the restaurant to open for the past two years. That demand is typical when such a restaurant opens, he said, and should subside within three to four weeks of the opening date.

Harrington said the restaurant had agreed to hire police details to handle the traffic flow for the first two weeks and would be willing to keep those details for longer if needed.

In addition, Harrington said the restaurant is in the process of partnering with Uber Eats on a delivery service and setting up a system for online ordering, both of which he said would take pressure off the drive-through line.

In other business on Tuesday, the Board of License Commissioners:

Granted Seyha Inc. d/b/a Gong Cha a common victualler license for the premises at 7 Beale St. Manager Piseth Cheav said Gong Cha is an international bubble tea chain. The shop will offer bubble tea and other beverages.

Granted the Common Market Restaurant Group permission to alter its premises to open an additional 1,500 square feet of outdoor dining and patio space. Greg McDonald said the restaurant has been using the space for outdoor dining on a temporary basis amid the pandemic and wants to use it on a permanent basis going forward. Using the space on a permanent basis requires additional approval from state regulators.

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