Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Watch: Stop Extending Building Permits; Group Is Concerned about Lost Taxes and Unsightly Lots in Jacksonville Beach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Watch: Stop Extending Building Permits; Group Is Concerned about Lost Taxes and Unsightly Lots in Jacksonville Beach

Article excerpt

Byline: CAREN BURMEISTER

JACKSONVILLE BEACH - A citizens group has asked the city to set time limits on building permits to stop project extensions that began when the city adopted a building height limit in 2004 and continued after the real estate market's collapse.

Darryl Shields, vice president of Beaches Watch, a citizens group that participates in local and state actions affecting the Beaches, recently presented a memo to the council challenging the city's permit extension policy.

The city's building code lets developers extend building permits by scheduling an inspection at least once every six months, even if the inspection is on a tiny amount of construction work.

Most of those building permits were issued before the building height cap and for years have kept those construction projects alive during the economic downturn.

Beaches Watch said the city loses on the policy because it can't collect taxes on the buildings and land that stays vacant for years and tends to become unsightly.

"Now is the time to think about future development at the Beaches," the Beaches Watch memo states. "We all know redevelopment will take place in many areas of Jacksonville Beach. Let's make sure we have the codes in place so that this valuable area is redeveloped in a manner that is reasonable and beneficial to the entire community."

The building permit policy is also a sore point for at least one of the developers.

The city revoked two of those permits last year, one belonging to Las Olas Development, which had a permit to build a six-story condo at 1316 First St. …

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