Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Business' Move to Residential Area OK'd Pool Company to Replace Shacks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Business' Move to Residential Area OK'd Pool Company to Replace Shacks

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

The Orange Park Town Council had to make a choice Tuesday night, but it turned out to be a no-brainer for the five council members.

Their decision boiled down to whether a proposed swimming pool business would be more desirable at Old Orange Park Road and Eldridge Avenue, close to Interstate 295, than three rental duplexes on the property described as shacks and eyesores that officials say had become flophouses for drug users and transients.

At the end of a zoning hearing Tuesday evening, council members unanimously said the answer was an unequivocal yes. Even if it means Stanley Pools Inc. will generate an increase in traffic in the neighborhood.

"This is going to be safer for our children in the long run," said council member Phyllis Renninger.

"Anything would be an improvement over what's there now," said Mayor Earl Harrington. "Being 150 feet from an expressway, nobody's going to want to build a home there anyway."

And council member Garry McIntyre said getting rid of the concrete block duplexes would also rid the property of "hobos" and "druggies," who he said had taken up temporary residence in the derelict structures.

Despite the council's optimistic outlook, neighbors who live within eyesight and earshot of the Stanley Pools property expressed concerns about a number of issues, including increased traffic and the sight of a commercial plant across the street from brick homes.

"We are, obviously, very concerned about commercial zoning encroaching into our residential area," Angie Claxton, who lives on Eldridge Avenue at the north end of the Stanley Pools property, told the Town Council. "We have expectations of phenomenal traffic coming through here."

Steve Eida, who also lives on Eldridge, expressed concern about what kind of view he would have from his home if the zoning were approved.

"I don't want to look out my front window and see a lot of heavy equipment," Eida said, adding, however, that he felt more at ease after Stanley assured him a natural buffer would remain around the business site. …

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