Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Advises against Condo Project on Intracoastal; Traffic, Hurricane Evacuation and Enviromental Issues Are Raised

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Advises against Condo Project on Intracoastal; Traffic, Hurricane Evacuation and Enviromental Issues Are Raised

Article excerpt


While the Jacksonville City Council is considering letting condominiums replace the Moody shipyards along the Intracoastal Waterway at Atlantic Boulevard, state officials are advising against the project, citing possible density, traffic and hurricane evacuation problems.

The council Tuesday agreed to send two ordinances to the Land Use and Zoning Committee for review and has scheduled public hearings on April 24 and May 8.

One measure calls for a rezoning of the 77.22-acre site at 13911 Atlantic Blvd., which includes the shipyard and 37 acres of wetlands north of the Atlantic Boulevard bridge and west of the Intracoastal Waterway. The land designation would change from industrial water and residential rural zoning to planned unit development and would allow for 600 condominium units to be built along with about 25,000 square feet of commercial space for potential shops and restaurants.

The other ordinance would amend future comprehensive land use maps and change the designation from water-related to community and general commercial.

While the city is moving forward with the review, the Florida Department of Community Affairs has raised several objections to the plans by Moody Land Co. The DCA is the chief agency with oversight on comprehensive land use plans, which provide a blueprint for controlled growth. The City Council voted in December to seek the state analysis.

"Do not adopt the amendment," the DCA recommended on at least three elements of the Moody proposal. Chief among them was the impact such a development could have on hurricane evacuations along Atlantic Boulevard, one of the main arteries for designated hurricane evacuations from the Beaches.

City Councilman Art Graham has taken issue with the proposed Moody development since the company started hinting at the project within the past year.

Graham said he had voted in December against sending the development proposal to the DCA because of the project's impact on hurricane evacuation. Under the proposed development, the residents would exit the site onto Atlantic Boulevard, which Graham said would clog Atlantic Boulevard at the bridge.

"I honestly think all the Beaches should be concerned about it," said Graham, who represents the Beaches.

The DCA review, completed last month, also advises against adopting the plan because of density concerns. In addition, the DCA said the development could impact the wetlands and advises redesignating the area outside the shipyard to conservation land.

The report also states there should be re-evaluation for other elements including traffic impact for trips on the roadway the residents will take every day.

The state's concerns contrast with the city's proposed ordinances. The measure for the rezoning states development "will not affect adversely the health and safety of residents in the area" and "will not be detrimental to the natural environment or to the use or development of the adjacent properties in the general neighborhood. …

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