Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Beach Split Idea Worries Residents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Beach Split Idea Worries Residents

Article excerpt

When Neptune Beach Mayor Dick Brown recently suggested exploring the idea of splitting the city into two districts with Third Street as the dividing line, he wasn't seeking an 'us vs. them' scenario.

But to at least some residents, that could be the end result of the proposal: As in the centuries-old adage, people could be labeled as being from the right side of the tracks or the wrong side of the tracks, they said. The haves and have-nots.

The Beaches already have several scenarios that border on social classification via geographic location.

People in the Marsh Oaks area, whose neighborhood used to be called, simply, Section H, have been fighting for real inclusion in Atlantic Beach. They've been saying Mayport Road separates them from the true bounties of being in the city. In Ponte Vedra Beach, many classify those with beachfront homes as The Boulevard People and non-coastal dwellers as those who aren't The Boulevard People.

But Brown has no such intentions in Neptune. In one of his first actions in office, Brown (who lives west of Third Street) has suggested that the city explore the concept of splitting the city into two zoning districts east and west of Florida A1A.

He said the measure could help homeowners on the east side of the highway whose lots are older and smaller than residences on the other side of the road. The small lot sizes have repeatedly forced those homeowners to seek variances when they want to modify their house or add a room.

Two residents urged the City Council Monday not to create two zoning districts; they said it would cause friction between the two regions. Some people fear the measure would cause divisiveness and class distinctions by calling the area east of Third Street "Oceanside" or "Seaside."

"We can't allow this to happen," said Lynda Padrta,who lives on First Street. "I think we should stay together."

As for the name Seaside, Brown said, those residents are already called something anyway: "The people who live east of Third Street."

Do ghosts roam the old Pic N' Save stores at the Beaches? …

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