Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Mayport: So much for proceeding slowly

After holding an all day workshop on the Mayport Cruise Terminal, the Jaxport Board of Directors voted to proceed slowly in pursuing building a cruise terminal at Mayport.  

Evidently City Council didn’t get the word. 

In a surprise to the folks involved in fighting against the cruise terminal, the rezoning legislation that would allow a cruise terminal at Mayport was scheduled for Council’s Land Use and Zoning Committee on February 3rd – where it was approved unanimously.

February 4, 2009

Dear Councilman Fussell:

I am an attorney and represent the Mayport Civic Association and other individuals in Mayport.  I am President of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute.

Despite your repeated assurances that the City Council would not vote on the Mayport cruise terminal PRIOR to the JPA’s own board approving plans to develop a cruise terminal in Mayport, we now learn that you have changed your position and are pushing the land use and zoning matters very quickly — to be held next Tuesday.  I attended the day long JPA workshop last week.  JPA director Ferrin told everyone that pursuing the cruise terminal in Mayport would be a “slow, deliberate process.”  The credibility of your assurances and Mr. Ferrin’s promises now are certainly in question in the minds of many citizens. 

JPA Chairman Mason was quoted last week as saying it made sense for the City Council to hold off on the Mayport matter until the Port Authority made its own decision. There is no way that anyone could lawfully tell you that the JPA Board is going to approve a cruise terminal in Mayport — I honestly believe the JPA Board will ultimately decide against a terminal there. 

We are presently organizing a large number of citizens to attend the council meeting Tuesday night to express their opinions about your change of position, and about the Mayport cruise terminal in general.

I would like to talk to you about this matter as soon as possible.  Could you or your assistant call me on my cell phone — […]?

Warren K. Anderson, Jr.

And here’s another one sent to Council President Fussell on February 5th questioning the legislation and wondering how the legislation got on the agenda in the first place:

RE: Rezoning 2008-893 and FLUM 08-892- Port proposed cruise ship terminal related bills
To Whom It May Concern:
As to FLUM amendment 08-892 up for a Council vote next Tuesday to accommodate a Cruise Ship terminal for Mayport Village, I have been concerned that the FLUM amendment acreage for a proposed cruise terminal is a much smaller land area than the acreage the Port itself previously indicated would be needed for such a use. 
I have had concerns that the small amendment process may be preferred by the applicant just to avoid the scrutiny of reviewing agencies but that it will be followed by additional amendment application(s) rather than full disclosure up front now of the full impacts to the land use map. 
To take it a step further, it appears to me that the proposal may best be studied as a DRI and companion amendment and rezoning to address the regional impacts.  I wonder if that has been addressed? Who made the decision the cruise ship terminal proposal is not a DRI?
I was at the LUZ Committee meeting Tuesday, without an agenda in hand, having reviewed it before my arrival, and something confused me:
Did the LUZ Committee informally add to the agenda Tuesday an item on the port related Mayport cruise terminal proposal?  At what point was that decided in advance to take it up for a vote Tuesday and how was the port group (advocates) advised to know to be present when the public and opponents did not know it was to be up for a vote?
All of the recent news coverage had suggested a hold pattern as to the Port Authority Board’s position on whether or not to even move forward with a cruise terminal…. If the board asked to wait, who decided to move it forward?
Are the port staff and port attorneys still moving forward without the support of their board?
As far as I knew, there was no port cruise ship related bill scheduled to be heard at LUZ by continuation of hearing or hearing set to a date certain of Tuesday, February 3 as to Mayport Village? What action was taken when by whom to get that item before the LUZ committee on Tuesday?
There were no members of the Mayport community or the past vocal opposition present or members of the CPAC 2 in which Mayport is located present or members of the Mayport community present at the LUZ meeting on Tuesday. 
Also, has CPAC of PD 2/CD 11 taken a position? The agenda did not reflect any PD 2 CPAC position which CPAC district is the one that serves the actual location of the port-proposed cruise ship terminal for Mayport Village.
However, much to my surprise, there appeared to be a bill heard on the Mayport cruise zoning issue with a large contingency of Port officials and Port attorneys and advocates for the port’s cruise ship effort present at the meeting —suggesting they were informed in advance that an item related to the port cruise ship matter would be heard, even though the public apparently was not so notified and it was not set on the agenda as an item to be heard on Feb. 3?
Since the advanced agenda gave no suggestion the port item would be up and since no opposition was present in the audience and yet a large contingency of paid port folks were there, I am just wondering how notification went out to the port staff and attorneys but not to the general public or opponents that it would be added to items on the agenda Tuesday for a vote?
Even though there was well known opposition to the cruise terminal, were only the paid advocates FOR the cruise terminal notified the LUZ committee would be taking action on the item Tuesday, without any general public notice or notice to the opposition of record?
Also, the agenda appears to show on the rezoning that the land use amendment is a small scale amendment.  Was a decision made that it did not need to be a semi annual amendment?  Again, I was wondering why a proposal to newly locate a cruise terminal at the Mayport village where one was not previously contemplated in long range planning would not be required to go through the DRI process? It looks like a potential DRI to me–especially with the naval base affected as well as regional transportation and environmental facilities!
Please file this comment for Council review.
 The bills are up for hearing this Tuesday night. 

Thank you, Valerie Britt 

Well here’s how it happened (at least a brief summary of it) taken from the minutes of the Land Use and Zoning Committee’s agenda meeting:

08-893 Discussion was held concerning various options, including deferral; it was stated that JPA was ready to move forward, but did not object to a deferral, and that a new amendment is to be proposed to incorporate additional conditions; the Chair indicated the intent to entertain action to amend and move the item, with previous speakers to be contacted concerning the public hearing before the full City Council

Note the agenda meeting is held at 3:30pm the same day as the Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting – which is held later that same day at 5:00pm.

Funny how it appears that all the Jaxport people knew to be at the Commitee meeting, but none of the opponents did.


Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , ,

2 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. steven says:

    Fussel is dishonest and cannot be trusted.

  2. Mike_Lee says:

    It’s simple:
    The cruise line checks to the member’s campaign funds cleared quicker than expected.

    I hope no one believes there are any honest people anywhere in Duval County government. It’s one thing to be the victim of crooked politicians — quite another to be an IGNORANT victim.

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