DEPTFORD TWP. — Raising Cane’s got the “chicken finger” at a meeting with township planners to correct oversights in its design for a restaurant at 1860 Deptford Center Road.
In this case, that’s a good thing.
Raising Cane’s is deep into construction of its first restaurant here after demolishing a closed Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchen restaurant. Hiring also is started. The site is in the running to be the first Raising Cane’s to open in South Jersey.
The fast-food chain got its site plan approved in January. But representatives were back before the Planning Board Oct. 4 to ask for a pair of design changes.
Attorney Damien Del Duca said the more serious issue is the company wants to use manually closing gates on the trash enclosure. Local ordinance requires self-closing gates, which he said Raising Cane’s believes is a safety issue.
“When we went back Raising Cane’s, and the hierarchy at Raising Cane’s realized that the gates had to be self-closing, we got a little bit of a lashing,” Del Duca said.
Project architect Dan Wise acknowledged Raising Cane’s has never had a gate-related incident itself. However, he said, an engineering expert advised the size and weight of the steel gates could be a hazard.
Wise said each door is 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide, weighing about 390 pounds. Smaller gates might not present the same problem but ones this size could shut with “deadly force” especially in the event of a strong wind, he said.
Del Duca also said a stylized window sign, known in the chain as the “chicken finger sign,” was left out of the original proposal to the township. Another aspect to that problem is that Deptford allows window signs in a restaurant only for a two-month period and Raising Cane’s sign would be permanent, he said.
Board Planner Brian Slaugh testified the arguments were debatable in his view.
“However, if they’ve gone to this trouble to come back for self-closing gates, it seems to me that — and they have methods whereby to address that and operational means to do it — I would just recommend we give them the design waiver,” Slaugh said.
“And the fact of the matter is, I think, if we go around Deptford, you’d probably find a lot of trash enclosures that aren’t self-closing, he said.
Slaugh said he also would not object to the window sign on a permanent basis. It probably will not promote the store as much as Raising Cane’s thinks it will, he said.
The board approved the changes on a unanimous vote.
Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey 36 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.
Have a tip? Reach out at[email protected]. Support local journalism with a subscription.