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Neighbors crowd street to show traffic that restaurant could bring to residential Riverside street

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

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A restaurant could soon be making its way to the Riverside area, but neighbors are not letting it come in without a fight.

The area on Oak Street in Riverside has to get rezoned to allow the restaurant to open. Neighbors are hoping Monday's protest will put a halt to that decision.

With burgundy balloons tied to vehicles lining Oak Street, neighbors shouted "Backyards over barstools" in protest to a proposed restaurant.

"If this comes through, it's going to destroy the residential character of the street. People will move away and we'll have to start all over again," said neighbor Wayne Wood.

Developers are proposing a 150-seat restaurant with full service bar called "Roost" in a vacant building in Riverside.

People who live around the building said the restaurant would make the community suffer.

"This restaurant is totally against the historic district and just for the sake of someone coming in and making a profit. Putting a restaurant in the middle of a residential neighborhood just doesn't make sense," said Wood.


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At least 80 cars crowded the streets for an hour to give people the idea of what it kind of traffic "Roost" could bring.

In order for "Roost" to move in, the historical district must be rezoned to allow a commercial restaurant.

"It's too intense for this area. It's like putting a giant pool right in the front yard. You have to put something that is sized and scaled for a community to live in," said neighbor Jennifer Wolfe.

Even though more than a dozen people showed up holding signs to protest this possible change, not everyone is against the restaurant.

"It doesn't really bother me, I go to the gym here all the time, but I think any business to the area would be great," said neighbor Garrett Chappell.

The zoning committee is holding a special hearing on Wednesday and will make a recommendation to the city council.