Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo Developer Works with Neighborhood Residents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo Developer Works with Neighborhood Residents

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

Neighbors who didn't want 80 condominiums and 62 townhomes on the 10.5-acre site at the entrance to their five neighborhoods along Goodbys Lake formed an association and invited the developer to chat.

Now Brownstone Developers has agreed to changes at The Forum at Goodbys Lake before a rezoning on the property in the 8800 block of Sanchez Road reaches the Jacksonville City Council this spring, including 13 fewer units and shorter buildings.

The developer also agreed to carve out a prime half-acre chunk of land and donate it to the city and residents as a park, plus install a sign that tells visitors that five communities exist in the area.

Sixteen neighbors spoke against the project last month before a City Council committee, and many helped form the Goodbys Creek Neighborhood Association to discuss ways to lower the Forum's density and reduce its impact on two-lane Sanchez Road and Goodbys Hideaway Drive.

After a Feb. 9 meeting with the developer, 22 of the 35 people there voted for a 14-point proposed compromise to be part of its upcoming rezoning plan. Association President Kevin Conner said Brownstone partner Brent Brown was "fairly flexible" in agreeing to the compromises.

"He has to be satisfied at the things he has given us, such as the park, a guarantee of traffic calming and pushing the traffic onto Baymeadows Road. Plus the height is not ideal, but he gave. I think that is part of the game," Conner said. "I was surprised that he is donating a park."

Brown said Monday he agreed to the compromises because he wants a project full of "positives," like a park that gives public access to water.

"I did this because I felt it was important for the development to get a majority out there to view it as a positive," he said.

Brownstone wants to build the Forum on land now occupied by two homes and the Wayman Chapel AME Church at 8855 Sanchez Road, just off Baymeadows Road. The original plan was for eight two-story townhomes and four five-story condominium buildings around a new lake. …

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