Fast-food Feud: Community group to recommend against Chick-fil-A project in Oceanway; city planners to urge approval

Despite protests from neighbors who are fighting to block a Chick-fil-A restaurant from being built across from First Coast High School, city planners are recommending the approval of the project.

The city’s Planning Commission meets Thursday and commissioners are expected to hear a recommendation from a staff member to approve the Chick-fil-A project.

But the fight isn’t over yet for residents opposed to the fast-food restaurant being built in their neighborhood.

The Land Use and Zoning Committee will hear a recommendation during its 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting from a community group asking council members to vote against the Chick-fil-A project.

The land was originally zoned for a McDonald’s, but now, Chick-fil-A wants to expand, adding 64 parking spaces and a double drive-thru that can hold up to 34 cars.

Neighbors are concerned about traffic and safety issues with students walking to and from First Coast High School.

Last month, residents expressed their frustrations during a public hearing, and since then, the North Citizen Planning Advisory Committee submitted a recommendation, saying the project would bring undue stress to the area.

It cites children walking to and from the high school as well as traffic going through the North Creek Community.

A mix-up involving the announcement of the public hearing also had residents frustrated.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. said a wrong date led to 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.

In addition to Thursday, there will be meetings on Feb. 13 and 21. The final vote on the restaurant is scheduled for Feb. 27.

The property owner tried to bring a Chick-fil-A to the same area in 2023.

The neighbors opposed it then too, and the city eventually denied the request.

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