'I received over 100 emails in opposition:' Oceanway Chick-fil-A gets the 'OK' despite pushback

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A proposed Chick-fil-A has received the green light from Jacksonville City Council to move forward in Oceanway, after major push back from neighbors.


Some council members argue a fast-food chain or restaurant would have likely be built regardless, because the property is zoned for it. However, Oceanway neighbors argued the property, covered in greenery, has sat quiet and empty for years.

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City council discussed the proposal at its weekly council meeting, Tuesday night.

“I received over 100 emails in opposition,” Councilman Jimmy Peluso said.

“I received 181 emails,” Councilman Will Lahnen echoed. “All but two in opposition.”

All nineteen city council members said they received emails voicing concerns over the proposal. Despite that, the proposal for a Chick-fil-A on Duval Station Road passed 12 to 7, Tuesday.

“That’s what people are forgetting,” Roberta Smith said. “We have to deal with it. Every day.”

Smith has lived in the North Creek community for two decades. She said this Chick-fil-A will cause an influx of problems. Smith and other neighbors have been fighting against the proposal for months. They even conducted their own traffic study to show the impact the drive-thru could have on their neighborhood. It will also be directly across from First Coast High School.

“It’s gonna be bad,” Smith said.

A representative from Chick-fil-A said during peak hours across their entire chain, they see about 25 cars. She said in this proposed site, the drive-thru will fit 39 cars, adding “the likelihood of it affecting traffic is minimal.”

City councilman Rory Diamond voted in favor of welcoming the Chick-fil-A.

RELATED: Oceanway residents not happy after Chick-fil-A application being proposed again

“It was re-zoned five years ago, so that was out of our hands. It happened with a city council that none of us were part of,” Diamond said. “We didn’t have the right to say you can’t have any sort of fast food restaurant there. We could have said yes to this Chick-fil-A plan or some Taco Bell or McDonalds, but either way, there’s gonna be a fast food restaurant.”

Other council members didn’t see it that way.

“If the zoning does not enhance the value of a neighborhood it has no business being passed,” Councilman Matt Carlucci said. “This will not enhance the quality of life in this neighborhood. I think we all know that.”

As for Smith, she said their fight is far from over.

“We have a lot of options to explore,” Smith said.

Councilman Diamond said neighbors have the right to bring a lawsuit, but otherwise he expects a Chick-fil-A to be built. No word yet on the construction timeline.

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