Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Panel Tweaks District Map Adjustments Made to Please Residents in Mandarin, Argyle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Panel Tweaks District Map Adjustments Made to Please Residents in Mandarin, Argyle

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew I. Pinzur, Times-Union staff writer

A pair of strong community objections to Jacksonville's proposed redistricting map may have been soothed yesterday by changes made to the plan by a City Council committee.

The defunct Special Committee on Redistricting approved a plan last month, but residents of northwest Mandarin and Argyle Forest loudly complained to some council members.

The Rules Committee, which now controls redistricting, unanimously approved the changes but barred any further modifications before the plan enters public hearings this summer.

The redistricting process takes data from the 2000 census to produce the new City Council lines mandated by law every 10 years. The city's 14 council districts must be almost equal in population, with no more than 10 percent difference between the largest and smallest.

Following a slew of town-hall meetings and at least three public hearings, the Rules Committee may make additional modifications before sending the plan to the full council.

"This is nothing in stone," said Rules Chairwoman Pat Lockett-Felder.

Among the changes approved yesterday:

-- The Mandarin neighborhoods of Beauclerc and Scott Mill, originally tacked onto a Riverside-Avondale-Ortega district, were switched into a district east of the St. Johns River. Mandarin has grown too populated to exist as a single district, but council members said Beauclerc was more appropriately packaged with San Marco and San Jose than coastal neighborhoods across the river.

-- To compensate, the Riverside-Avondale-Ortega district claimed Argyle Forest. Argyle residents complained about being part of a massive rural council district that ran along the county's circumference from Mayport to Roosevelt Boulevard. Council members Jim Overton and Alberta Hipps, who represent Westside districts, said the new plan would appeal to Argyle community leaders. …

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