Questions and scrutiny continue at community meeting over proposed Chick-fil-A in Oceanway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of people joined Jacksonville city leaders in a community meeting to learn more about a proposed Chick-fil-A in the Oceanway neighborhood.


Many neighbors came with questions and scrutiny over the city’s traffic study. They voiced their concerns about the potential traffic problems the proposed restaurant might bring.

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This was after the city published a 658-page traffic study on the proposed site set to be at the intersection of Bradley Cove Road and Lady Lake Road.

“Validated my opinion -- way too much traffic that will be coming through, it’s going to make it even worse for the community and worse for the high schoolers,” Erin Grier, an Oceanway resident said.

There was a lot of tension in the meeting.

“The community is frustrated,” Council Member Reggie Gaffney said. “They have every right to be upset.”

The popular restaurant would be across from First Coast High School and at an entrance to a residential neighborhood, which many said will be a problem.

“It’s just going to be a nightmare,” Szilvia Smith, an Oceanway resident said. “Lady Lake Road and Bradley Cove Road is not a commercial road; it’s a residential road and our zoning is [for] low-intensity traffic.”

RELATED: Residents simulate traffic jam to protest proposed Chick-fil-A in Oceanway

City leaders, the developer’s attorney, the city’s traffic engineer and Chick-Fil-A representatives all sat down to listen and share their updates.

“We try to make sure upfront that these studies are accurate, but at the same time we want to allow people to develop their properties, just like you’re allowed to develop your properties,” Jacksonville’s Chief Traffic Engineer Chris LeDew said during the meeting.

After reviewing the traffic study, LeDew said he found a traffic signal is warranted and a right turn deceleration lane is necessary at each driveway of the site.

“If they want to put in a light, all they’re going to do is drive more traffic down on Lady Lake Road in front of the houses to exit out on Summer Beach Drive,” Smith said.

People asked about everything from property values to the safety of the high schoolers. Some also questioned the accuracy of the study.

RELATED: Oceanway community voices concerns against proposed location of new Chick-fil-A

Chick-Fil-A representative listened and responded to many people asking – why here?

“This after all things considered, this is the ideal spot for us to be,” a Chick-Fil-A representative said at the meeting.

One rep also explained how during peak hours across their entire chain, they see about 25 cars. But she said in this proposed site, the drive-thru will fit 39 cars. So, she added saying, “the likelihood of it affecting traffic is minimal.”

Chick-Fil-A sent Action News Jax an emailed statement saying, “We recognize the challenges encountered in this project, including issues with the initial traffic study. When discussion begins around building a Chick-fil-A restaurant, one of our main goals is to positively impact the communities we serve. We remain committed to ongoing dialogue and value the feedback received.”

The next Land Use and Zoning meeting is scheduled for June 4th. There will be a public hearing to discuss the traffic study and there will also a vote.

Then, city council is set to vote on the proposal on June 11.

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