Oceanway community frustrated over opposed Chick-fil-A public hearing confusion

An already frustrated Oceanway community was even more flustered after being given a 24-hour notice for a public hearing regarding rezoning for an unwanted proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant.

The surprise hearing comes just two weeks after residents packed the Oceanway Community Center to discuss their frustration and concern with the possible development that would sit across from First Coast High School and use part of the North Creek subdivision’s entrance for customers to gain access.

About 30 people showed up Tuesday night, but resident Roberta Smith said at least 200 people would have attended if they were given proper notice.

“We want this city hall to be standing room only with people opposed to this Chick-fil-A,” Smith said.

The community decided at the previous meeting to defer the rezoning of the popular restaurant, which would essentially double its size from the current plan. Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. explained why the public hearing happened despite the deferral.

“It was a little bit of confusion. The planning department sent the community the wrong dates, and the community reached out to me and I was able to get them the correct dates. We were able to rectify this situation. The community was given additional dates to come out and speak against this Chick-fil-A,” Gaffney said.

ONGOING OPPOSITION: Oceanway residents voice opposition to proposed Chick-Fil-A

Seven people spoke against the plan, including Christine Brundage. She also lives in the subdivision and said her biggest concern is that Chick-fil-A plans to drive traffic to the restaurant through the front of her neighborhood.

“We cannot find any other Chick-fil-A’s or any other business for that matter that is intentionally using the intersection inside a residential neighborhood as the location of the entrance into their business, driving their traffic through the neighborhood entrance into their entrance,” Brundage said.

Smith and Brundage said over the next few weeks they plan to organize their community to show up to the four upcoming meetings for the issue.

“It will be a lot of door-to-door and getting the word out to people that I know to spread the word because we do need to come together as a community,” Smith said.

“We would ask for everyone that is opposed to come on out and make your presence known even if you don’t want to speak, show up, and the visual support makes a difference,” Brundage said.

The future meetings that will discuss the rezoning issue will be held on Feb 8, 13, and 21.

The final vote on the matter will take place on Feb. 27.

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