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City Approves Controversial Rezone For Riverside Eatery

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Lindsey Kilbride
/
WJCT News
Early in May some Riverside residents protested the proposed the proposed Oak Street restaurant, The Roost. Tuesday, Council approved the rezone.

The Jacksonville City Council voted 13 to 5 Tuesday night to rezone an old laundromat in Riverside, paving the way for a 150-seat restaurant, The Roost.

The change has been controversial as neighbors banded together to fight against the eatery they say doesn't fit the area’s historic layout.

Earlier this month, Riverside residents against the rezoning protested the proposed late-night restaurant on Oak Street.

“Bicycles over Barstools” and “Don’t Roost here” were chants from area residents. 

The old laundromat is currently zoned as a Commercial Residential Office. The zone change would make the building a Planned Urban Development, a designation that allows for mixed use.

Before the council vote, the change was vetted by the city planning department, planning commission, and the council land use and zoning committee.

 

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Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

But Riverside councilman Jim Love voted against the restaurant, agreeing with the protesting residents that the 150-restaurant goes against the area’s historic overlay. The layout designates Oak Street a residential-character area, meaning most businesses are offices and restaurants aren’t allowed unless Council makes an exception.

“The adjacent properties to the north are single-family office, to the east is single-family, to the south is single-family, multi-family, to the west it’s multi-family,” Love said. “Does that sound like a commercial area to you?”

Residents are also concerned there isn’t enough parking for The Roost, which might increase traffic in the area.

No one in support of the bill spoke Tuesday night, but some residents in support of The Roost attended an earlier hearing. Several said they think the increased activity will make the street feel safer.

Riverside resident Jennifer Wolfe who opposes the restaurant says her group will be appealing Council's decision.