Pal’s development challenged by Abingdon citizen group

Local

An Abingdon citizens group disagree with the city’s approval of Pal’s Sudden Service because of the building’s signature teal color. 

Abingdon Town Manager Jimmy Morani told News Channel 11 on Thursday that the Friends of Abingdon, a group of local residents, are fighting against the Abingdon Planning Commission’s vote to award the restaurant a Certificate of Appropriateness for development of a location at The Meadows in Abingdon. 

The appeal claims that the certificate violates sections of the town’s zoning ordinance and the Special Use Permit application. 

“First and foremost we wish to state that this is NOT an attempt to keep Pal’s out of Abingdon,” the group says in the appeal letter, “And it does NOT, in any way, suggest that our membership has anything against having a Pal’s in Abingdon.” 

Morani said the certificate passed in a 4-1 vote, but the appeal mentions the color of the building being against city code.

“The city’s code regarding the entrance corridor overlay district does not mention specific colors,” Morani said, adding that the approved site plan complies with town code and that Pal’s is free to continue work on the development pending the outcome of the appeal. 

Mayor Wayne Craig and other town leaders discussed the appeal in a work session on Thursday, and agreed to add the item to the town’s next council meeting. 

Craig said the feedback he’d gotten from the community pointed toward support for the Pal’s being built on the site. 

“Abingdon has gained somewhat of a reputation of not being business-friendly, and I think the council will probably want to dispense of this quickly so that everybody can get on with their business,” he said.

Pal’s responded to the appeal with a statement from CEO Thom Crosby that the color of the building and “unique architecture of classic menu items” are imperative to the restaurant’s brand.

“Should the Town of Abingdon rescind the previously approved certificate we will be forced to choose not to construct a restaurant at the location,” Crosby said in the statement. 

In 2016, a Pal’s Sudden Service representative told News Channel 11 that Johnson City building regulations required changes to the signature building style for a restaurant location. A representative declined to comment about those changes for this story.

Morani said there will be a public discussion at a city council meeting in the near future regarding the appeal. 

News Channel 11 has reached out to Friends of Abingdon for comment.

Check back at wjhl.com for updates to this story. 

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