Neighbors living near S. Dale Mabry say no to Chick-fil-A rezoning

S. Dale Mabry Chick-fil-A looks to expand
Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-25 10:04:31-05

A Chick-fil-A restaurant on South Dale Mabry Hwy. may soon get more parking, but neighbors in the area say it will be at their expense.

The restaurant is notorious for long lines of cars waiting to get through the one drive-thru.

The franchise store operator, Art Grossman, says there’s just not enough space to keep up with the high demand.

He purchased the land just behind the restaurant a few years ago and is now asking city council members to rezone that property from residential to commercial.

If approved, the new lot would add 20 more parking spots and an additional drive thru lane.

However, neighbors living nearby say it will not only bring in more traffic, but make their roads more dangerous.

“There are some sidewalks,” said Ryan Barlow, who lives just feet from the restaurant. “But it's still quite unsafe to try to navigate through the neighborhood if you’re just going for a run or taking your kid for a walk.”

He moved to South Tampa four years ago because of the prime location near downtown and other spots, expecting some traffic, but nothing like what he deals with every day with people going to the Chick-fil-A.

Lines of cars end up along his street, De Leon, and even S. Dale Mabry.

“We've also had a few accidents where people have actually backed into parked cars on our driveways,” he said.

He and other neighbors like Courtney Cox, started an online petition to stop the rezoning.

At the time of this publication, close to 50 people signed up in support.

Grossman says he’s met with neighbors in the area and says he’s taking their concerns into consideration.

He plans to add a wall to block out noise from cars in the lot as well as shades for the lighting that could bother neighbors.

He thinks the changes will help with traffic, not make it worse.

“We're not expanding the building, he said, “we’re not putting in more seating, what we’re doing is putting in more parking to get more cars off the street.”

However, Cox says the issues go beyond traffic.

“What kind of precedent is this setting?,” she said, “It’s happening all around South Tampa.”

Council Members will meet early next year to discuss and possibly vote on the rezoning.

Grossman says if it is approved, construction would take around four to six weeks.

The restaurant would be closed during that time for remodeling as well.