Peyton Tells Feds Their Plan Violates Zoning Law; Health and Human Services Wants to Turn Springfield Property over to a Drug Treatment and Homeless Shelter

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Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton is at a stalemate with the federal government over whether a drug treatment and homeless center can move into historic Springfield.

River Region Human Services wants to move from its East Jacksonville location into the old Jewish Center in Springfield.

The building belongs to the federal government, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to turn it over to River Region.

But Peyton said that area of Springfield isn't zoned for a shelter. Even if the federal government gives the property to River Region, the city won't issue permits because a shelter would violate the city's comprehensive plan, Peyton spokeswoman Susie Wiles said. She said Peyton is waiting to see what the federal government plans to do next.

Peyton sent a letter last month to Health and Human Services expressing his concerns.

Health and Human Services approved River Region's application, agency official John Hicks said in a letter to Peyton. Now, the agency is waiting for the General Services Administration to turn the property over so it can be transferred to River Region, Hicks wrote. …