Mandarin residents protest business proposal

Town Hall met Monday night to discuss development proposal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A controversial project was discussed in Mandarin Monday night. Both sides of the argument discussed the new businesses that are anticipated to be built on San Jose Blvd at Oak Bluff Lane. Right now, a Chick-fil-a restaurant, a bank and a Mexican restaurant are planned to go up in the area.

"This project exactly the way it is right now was denied last year, completely denied all the way across," said former city councilwoman Sharon Copeland.

The project has already received the okay from City Council committees, but one city councilman is vowing to slow the project down.

"I emailed you a picture this morning where traffic is so backed up on Oak Bluff that people are already cutting through the grass so they can make that right hand turn," said City Councilman Stephen Joost.

"We don't know anything about how many businesses are going in," said Ann Shampoo.

When asked if she was worried about, Shampoo replied, "If it's an access I use to get out, and I use it every day."

Even though a City Council committee has given the project tentative approval, Joost told Channel 4 he plans on going to Tuesday's Council meeting to ask the project get pushed back to committee and not be approved.

"You've got not only what was denied last year, but what passed this year is like triple the intensity on the land use. The amount of traffic and safety hazards that this is going to create is a major issue for the citizens," said Joost.

There are many people who aren't in favor of Joost making changes.

They're most concerned about safety due to the amount of traffic these places would bring in. It was just up the road from where a woman was killed while crossing San Jose Boulevard with her daughter to get to a synagogue.

"We had a family run over literally at the next intersection because of the traffic. This is going to create more traffic. This is a major thoroughfare for people walking to the synagogue on Saturdays. They walk up Haley and walk up Oak Bluff," said Joost.

Some people at the meeting Monday said they want the new business in their area, saying the new businesses will make use of land that is next to a closed down Applebee's restaurant.

"In this economy, I'm absolutely shocked that the city council would want to prevent Chick-fil-a from coming in," said business owner Geoff Youngblood. "I looked them up today and their average tax base to the average tax pay for land and billing -- it's $65,000 a year. The city needs that kind of money."

In 2013, the same proposal was brought forth and the council denied the Chick-fil-a.

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