Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rezoning Confuses San Pablo

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rezoning Confuses San Pablo

Article excerpt

Jacksonville planners surprised a San Pablo neighborhood this

week, saying a controversial hotel-office development wouldn't

need state approval -- which is the opposite of what they said a

few months ago.

The question could still end up in Tallahassee for a second

opinion on the city's precedent-setting decision about the

220-room hotel, retail and office complex, called San Pablo


The outcome might decide whether several miles of vacant land

city-wide, now approved for a mix of shops, homes and offices,

can be developed for a wider variety of commercial projects.

It could also answer criticisms by residents of a wealthy

enclave on the Intracoastal Waterway, who claim City Hall is

being too eager to accommodate a major development.

"What bothers me is the mind-set that derived this," said

Charles Dixon III, who is building a house south of Butler

Boulevard, in the neighborhood where his family has lived since

the 1950s. "From the bigger picture, we don't agree with what

they're doing."

The rezoning would allow a 10-story hotel, making it one of

the tallest hotels in the city. An Atlanta-based developer,

Steinemann & Co., has contracted to buy a 22-acre tract,

including the hotel site, from the Davis family of Winn-Dixie

Stores Inc.

A City Council committee is scheduled to consider the issue on


The Jacksonville Planning Commission Thursday night approved a

rezoning for the project after setting extensive restrictions on

its design.

But they also said state officials -- either the Department of

Community Affairs or Attorney General's Office -- should review

a ruling the city Planning and Development Department made on

the rezoning.

The department told commissioners city land-use plans for the

area did not have to be changed, even though those plans don't

permit zonings that are usually used for hotels.

Changing land use plans requires approval by the Department of

Community Affairs. …

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