Neighbors speak out against plan for Chick-fil-A near First Coast High

North Creek residents urged Council members to reject rezoning for the project.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 9:21 p.m. January 23, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Access to the Chick-fil-A planned in North Jacksonville across from First Coast High School would be through the Bradley Cove Road entrance to the North Creek subdivision.
Access to the Chick-fil-A planned in North Jacksonville across from First Coast High School would be through the Bradley Cove Road entrance to the North Creek subdivision.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr
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What is expected to be a two-part public hearing on a proposal to build a Chick-fil-A restaurant in North Jacksonville near First Coast High School began Jan. 23, with several nearby residents turning out to urge City Council to reject the project.

North Creek subdivision resident Robin Hood – “That’s my real name,” he told Council members – said more than 30 of his neighbors attended the Council meeting in opposition to the restaurant and that “you’re going to see even more of us” at the second part of the public hearing. 

The second portion is scheduled for Feb. 13.

The turnout to the Jan. 23 meeting came less than two weeks after more than 100 residents converged at a neighborhood meeting about the project, with dozens of them speaking out against it.

Neighbors say the restaurant would block the North Creek entrance, create traffic congestion, threaten the safety of First Coast students and reduce property values.

“How would you like your neighborhood to be the entrance to a Chick-fil-A?” North Creek resident Christine Brundage asked Council members.

The site plan for the Chick-fil-A planned in North Jacksonville. Access to the fast-food restaurant would be on Lady Lake Drive, which connects the North Creek subdivision to the Publix parking lot. The yellow restaurant building sits next to Duval Station Drive.

The developer is seeking to rezone the site, resulting in legislation – Ordinance 2023-0856 – that went before the Council on Jan. 23. The legislation also was scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Jan. 18 as part of the city’s approval process, but Council member Reggie Gaffney Jr., who represents the area, had that hearing deferred. The second portion of the public hearing before the Council was scheduled accordingly. 

Chick-fil-A’s plans for the restaurant include a double drive-thru that would accommodate as many as 34 cars. Access would be from Lady Lake Drive, with cars entering through the North Creek entrance on Bradley Cove Road or through the adjacent Publix Super Markets shopping center parking lot. 

The Chick-fil-A site is near homes in the North Creek subdivision. To access the restaurant, cars would enter here along Lady Lake Road.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr

The Council approved a rezoning for a fast-food restaurant at the site in 2015, a McDonald’s, that was never built. That site plan included fewer parking spaces and a smaller drive-thru than the proposed Chick-fil-A and included an entrance from Duval Station Road.

Thomas Ingram, an attorney for property owner and developer Ramzy Bakkar, told Council members Jan. 23 that Chick-fil-A’s plan included adequate parking to allow for stacking of vehicles on-site and reduce the overflow of cars. He said the company believes it can “best accommodate the community, their team members and their customers” with the site plan.

To access the Chick-fil-A, customers could enter the Publix-anchored and -owned Duval Station Centre shopping center to reach Lady Lake Road.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr

Chick-fil-A proposed a similar plan in early 2023. The chief of planning for the city at that time, Folks Huxford, told neighbors at a community meeting that he would recommend denying the rezoning request.

The planning department has yet to offer a recommendation on the current plan.

The Council took no action on the ordinance Jan. 23 in advance of the second portion of the public hearing.



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