Mandarin residents oppose more San Jose Blvd. businesses

Safety a concern in congested area

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some current and former Jacksonville City Council members are questioning a move by a council committee approving plans that will be opening the door to more fast food restaurants along San Jose Boulevard.

On Tuesday night, the land use and zoning committee gave its go ahead for restaurants and other small businesses to be built in an area near San Jose and Oak Bluff Lane, a stretch of road some say is already too congested.

A group of people was in the area protesting Friday morning, saying it's already too dangerous. Those people included former and current city council members, along with residents who live in the area upset that this is becoming an issue once again.

A Chick-fil-A, another restaurant and a bank are being proposed. Protesters' signs read, "No curb cut," meaning they don't want a new entrance or road leading into a new business development.

It's an issue they've fought before and thought it was over.

"I've spent my whole life in the Mandarin area and I know these residents have been opposing this almost 20 years," council member Stephen Joost said. "It's not like the landlord came in and bought this property and didn't know there's a long history of this being opposed."

Last week a council committee decided to approve the development, though it was last year the entire council turned thumbs down on just one restaurant in the area. Former city council members are concerned about the change, saying it doesn't make sense.

"Rather then being heard in council or being heard in the town hall meeting, we have to come out and talk to you on the street corner and waive signs in order to get our voices heard," former council member Jack Webb said.

The concerns are primarily safety. It was just up the road from there last September when a woman was killed and her daughter was critically injured while crossing San Jose to get to a synagogue.

The group is planning a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday to get an update on what is happening there. They also plan to attend the council meeting Tuesday night.

"It's really disturbing to us because some people said we are the minority, we are the only ones who don't want this. And as you can see that's not the case," former council member Sharon Copeland said.

The town hall meeting Monday night will be held at the Mandarin Community Club at 12447 Mandarin Road.

The attorney for the property owner developer was unavailable for comment Friday.

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