On March 20, the Jacksonville Beach City Council voted 5-2 to put a referendum on the May 16 ballot proposing an amendment to the City Charter to allow a height increase to 55 feet on the Latham Plaza parking lot property to allow the City to redevelop the property with a mixed use development and parking garage. Councilmembers Sandy Golding and Bill Horn voted AGAINST placing the referendum on the ballot. Jax Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman and Councilmembers Cory Nichols, Dan Janson, Fernando Meza and Greg Sutton voted to place the referendum on the ballot.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR COMMUNITY?
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
In 2004, 76% of Jacksonville Beach voters approved the 35 foot height limit for the City of Jacksonville Beach because citizens wanted to protect our lower density, low rise beach community. By putting the height limit in the City Charter, any future change to the height in Jacksonville Beach would have to be approved by the voters, not 4 City Council members.
Now is the time to make sure your voice is heard. If you don’t vote on anything else, Jacksonville Beach voters need to vote on the height referendum to let the City Council know what you want for your community. Do you approve or disapprove of a 55 foot building on the Latham Plaza parking lot?
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HEIGHT INCREASE REFERENDUM
To help Jacksonville Beach voters understand all sides of this important issue, Beaches Watch hosted a panel of participants who represent various perspectives on the issue. Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman discussed her position in support of putting the height increase on the ballot. Georgette Dumont, representative from the Protect the Beach Life Political Action Committee, discussed the Political Committee’s position on the proposed height increase. Also on the panel, Michelle Tipton, a representative from Better Beach 32250, a grassroots organization of Jacksonville Beach residents, discussed their position on the proposed height increase.
Watch the meeting video to learn more:
To see each individual presentation:
Jacksonville Mayor Chris Hoffman: https://youtu.be/AJ_q-XZOkyE
Michelle Tipton, Better Beach 32250: https://youtu.be/ZPdoadkcdD0
Georgette Dumont, Protect the Beach Life: https://youtu.be/_XQa_Q2S_lo
PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE
The proposed change to the Jacksonville Beach Charter would add language underlined below:
Section 52 – Zoning Authority:
(2)(a) In order to further protect the public health, safety, general welfare, and aesthetics, no new building height shall exceed thirty-five (35) feet, nor shall any existing building be altered to cause it to exceed a building height of thirty-five (35) feet, except the City shall have the power to redevelop the City-owned property bounded by 1st Street North, 2nd Street North, Latham Plaza, and 111 Beach Boulevard to a building height maximum not to exceed 55 feet, for a mixed-use redevelopment project with parking structure.
HOW THE REFERENDUM WILL LOOK ON YOUR BALLOT
Increase building height up to an additional 20 feet for the Latham Plaza Parking Lot
Shall the Jacksonville Beach Charter be amended to allow the redevelopment of a City-owned property bounded by 1st Street North, 2nd Street North, Latham Plaza, and 111 Beach Boulevard, exempting the property from the 35 feet height limit, to allow a maximum building height of 55 feet for a mixed use redevelopment with a parking structure?
You can read more here: HEIGHT INCREASE CHARTER AMENDMENT
MORE ABOUT THE LATHAM PLAZA PARKING LOT REDEVELOPMENT
The Latham Plaza parking lot property is owned by the City and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has been discussing redeveloping this property to a height of 55 feet with a mixed use development that would include a parking garage, retail as well as residential or office space. The CRA would like to redevelop the Latham Plaza parking lot property through a Public Private Partnership (also known as a P3). The City Manager suggested that voting on the the Charter amendment in May would allow the CRA to move forward with their plan to solicit a development partner for the project.
It is important to note there are currently no plans or criteria for a proposed development on the Latham Plaza property. Whatever will be developed there will be decided AFTER the vote on the referendum.
To learn more about the vision for the downtown, you can read the Vision Plan Amendment to the Downtown Community Redevelopment Plan.
The location of the Latham Plaza parking lot can be seen here in this aerial, with the property outlined in yellow.
YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT!
GET OUT AND VOTE!
Deadline to register to vote: April 17
Deadline to request a ballot to be mailed: May 6
Request a Vote-by-Mail ballot: CLICK HERE
Early voting will be held May 1 – May 14, 10am – 6pm
Location: Beaches Branch Library
Election day: Tuesday, May 16, 7am to 7pm
There is not much time before early voting starts to educate Jax Beach voters and get out the vote!
To help get the word out, there are several efforts underway by Jacksonville Beach citizens who do not support the height increase. If you would like more information:
This is a Political Action Committee that has been formed to raise money to send mailers, place ads and print yard signs in opposition to the height increase referendum and promote participatory democracy in Jax Beach.
This is a grassroots advocacy group of citizens that is recruiting volunteers to help in various ways (i.e. going door-to-door, making phone calls, waving signs, writing letters to the editor, etc.).
We encourage you to get involved and educate your friends and neighbors about the importance of voting on May 16.