Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo Complex Clears a Hurdle, but Some Officials Still Oppose It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo Complex Clears a Hurdle, but Some Officials Still Oppose It

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

Even though the Jacksonville City Council approved a 600-unit condominium complex to be built at the Moody shipyards site along the Intracoastal Waterway, some Beaches officials said this week they'll keep opposing the project.

The council voted 11-3 Tuesday to approve rezoning the Moody site at the northwestern foot of the Atlantic Boulevard bridge. That would allow up to four 144-foot-high condo towers to be built on half of the Moody Land Co.'s land, which is now a shipyard. The other half would be protected marshlands, according to Moody's plan.

Council members Elaine Brown, Art Graham and Glorious Johnson dissented. Graham and Brown live at the Beaches. Graham said he still has problems with the project, which the Florida Department of Community Affairs has criticized. The DCA will still have a final review of the project.

"The report that came from the DCA, it was a scathing report," said Graham. "I talked to some land-use attorneys and they said they've never seen a report come back so negative."

The Moody company and its attorney, Paul Harden, revised their initial plans after several residents and city officials raised concerns about the condo project. Backing off of any use of the wetlands was chief among the changes and a promised public boat ramp was another modification, among other changes.

Proponents view the site's current use as an industrial area where boats are sandblasted, painted and receive maintenance as unsightly. The towers would be shorter than the 300-foot cranes that are there now, Harden said.

District 3 Councilman Richard Clark, whose district includes the Moody site, voted in favor of the rezoning. Clark had initially raised concerns about the boat ramp and any use of the marshland and was convinced the modifications were adequate when it came to Tuesday's vote.

But Graham and some officials from Atlantic Beach continued to object to some of the plans at Tuesday's council meeting.

Graham said he wonders if the changes in the plans will be enough to convince DCA officials to sign off on the project. The DCA oversees comprehensive land use plans in the state. …

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