Some Oceanway neighbors oppose plan to build Chick-fil-A across from First Coast High School

A proposed plan to bring a new Chick-fil-A restaurant to the Oceanway neighborhood is causing a stir among residents. Not all of them are happy about it.

We’ve all seen how busy a Chick-fil-A restaurant can get on any given day (except on Sundays, of course). That’s precisely why some in Oceanway are against one being built directly across from First Coast High School.

A woman named Cindy told News4JAX she’s lived in the area for decades and has seen the fast development. With heavy traffic in the area, Cindy says her main concern is the safety of the students across the street.

“They’ll be running across the street, and it’ll cause more accidents,” Cindy said. “They need a red light, really, for that area so the kids can go across. But they just go zoom on by.”

But the traffic and safety worries are just the beginning for some residents.

Plans for the proposal show Chick-fil-A customers would get to the restaurant using Lady Lake Road, within the North Creek subdivision. North Creek’s entrance is directly adjacent to where the restaurant would be built. This means customers would either walk or drive through the neighborhood to get to the restaurant.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the property owner tried to bring the Chick-fil-A to this location last year, but it was denied.

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. was front and center during that initial proposal. He told News4JAX he was surprised to hear the property owner is trying again. Now that the proposal has come up for a second time, he said constituents are reaching out to him.

“I have gotten numerous calls. I have gotten at least 10 or 15 calls, and they’re quite concerned,” Gaffney said. “They pretty much call me every day worrying about their home values. They asked me about potential people coming in the neighborhood, maybe loitering and littering, throwing out trash, and their neighborhood traffic and congestion.”

Gaffney said a woman who has lived in the area for about 18 years told him that if Chick-fil-A builds in that location, she would sell her home.

As of now, the lot sits vacant. Signs posted nearby highlight what’s happening behind the scenes. Some people, including Belinda Nash, question if a Chick-fil-A is even needed in that location.

“I believe we have one that is not far from here in (the) River City (Marketplace), so that’s pretty close,” Nash said. “I’m not against it either, but I do know the one at River City does have a lot of traffic.”

Gaffney has scheduled a community meeting to discuss the proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant, similar to one he held last year. He said he wants people to hear from those on all sides, and he’s expecting a sizable turnout.

“I want to see if they have a change of heart,” Gaffney said. “Or if they still have the same thought process.”

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Oceanway Community Center at 12215 Sago Ave. In the coming weeks, the city itself is expected to take a closer look at the proposal.

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