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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Cruise ship opponents challenge validity of JPA study

Buried in the Shorelines community news on jacksonville.com is this story:

MAYPORT – Opponents of a proposed cruise ship terminal not only put a hold on the plans this week with Florida Sunshine Law challenges, they’re also challenging Jacksonville Port Authority figures that say the terminal would have a positive economic impact.

“There’s been a huge economic impact since Jacksonville has owned the property along the waterfront,” said Michelle Baldwin, president of the Mayport Village Civic Association, which has sued to stop the terminal. It’s a negative impact, she said.

The JPA purchased about 8 acres on the waterfront in June. Baldwin, who represents about 70 Mayport property owners, said the negative impact since then includes moving about 20 shrimp boats from their docks, moving a net-rigging shop to Yulee and closing the Mayport Tavern.

“There’s been an impact to the morale of the village and the way we have lived life down here for approximately the past 200 years as a fishing village,” Baldwin said.

The negatives contrast a University of North Florida study paid for and released by the JPA last month that said a terminal in Mayport could have a $500-million impact on the area’s economy in the first six years of operation.

The study also concluded that a terminal at Mayport instead of its current location west of the Dames Point Bridge would have an economic impact on five Northeast Florida counties. In addition, the study says the terminal would create about 5,000 jobs on cruise ships and in service industry businesses.

But Baldwin said the study overlooks the negatives, and Warren Anderson, an attorney with the Florida Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute, which is helping represent the association, said the JPA is refusing to release details on how the UNF study was conducted.

“We’re frustrated because we haven’t had a chance to look at the report and evaluate it with their own economist,” Anderson said.

The Civic Association is also amending its lawsuit to include charges that Jacksonville and the JPA violated the Sunshine Law. Anderson said the amendment is based on the JPA’s 2007 acquisition of the Mayport ferry from Jacksonville. When the JPA got the ferry, it also acquired land near the ferry slips and nearby property at Hornblower Marine, the company that oversees ferry operations.

Anderson said neither the JPA nor City Council informed the public about 3 other acres of “surplus” land east of Ocean Street and that that’s a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law. The city owned the 3 acres prior to the JPA’s ferry acquisition.

“What the evidence will show, we think, is that the Sunshine Law requires that notices be given,” Anderson said. “The Port Authority decided to take over the ferry, which was good news for all of us. Except that we found out that as a condition of taking over the ferry, the Port Authority arranged to take a number of other properties at Mayport unrelated to the ferry.

“Our complaint is that the citizens of Mayport village were not told that there were other properties being given to the Port Authority unrelated to the ferry, which would then later allow the Port Authority these additional properties so they could put a cruise terminal in the area,” said Anderson.

The amendment caused the Jacksonville City Council to postpone any votes on proposed zoning changes to accommodate the proposed terminal.

Kerri Stewart, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer, said in 2007 when the land was transferred that there wasn’t official discussion about building a terminal in Mayport but the possibility was known.

“It was not a secret that they were looking for alternative sites for a cruise terminal,” she said, “but that’s not the reason we conveyed the land.”

The city wanted to help compensate for the financial losses the Port Authority would likely incur, Stewart said. The ferry was operating at an annual deficit of $750,000 to $1 million.

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Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , ,

9 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. yes bring the cruise terminal to jaxs
    its best to keep jaxs growing
    5000 jobs alone would create more growth in jacksonville

  2. Ryan says:

    You might want to actually read the article before you comment, Charles John Croker. It seems to state that “5,000 jobs” may be a myth. And, for what it’s worth, Jax is “jax”, not “jaxs.” 🙂

  3. Marcia says:

    When I went to Alaska this pass summer I spent 2 days before sightseeing in Seattle and 2 days after…Jacksonville will bring more tourtist money here also if we had a terminal bringing out of town passengers. Good old boys don’t want to see Jax grow…too bad, it will.

  4. misstassie says:

    I doubt that 5,000 jobs will result in the Mayport Cruise Terminal.We need a more realistic figure to promote jobs. On the other hand, of the approximate 2200 guests per sailing a certain percentage will visit Jacksonville before and/or after cruising Carnival’s Fascination. Imagine the thrill of knowing Mayport Village can showcase their lovely historical part of Jacksonville to people who would otherwise never have heard of Mayport. The Mayport Cruise Terminal will be a win-win situation for all parties involved. How fortunate for Mayport families to carry on their 200 yr. old heritage. Wish I could do the same, but somehow progress won out. Oh for the good old days of horse and buggy transportation and a rowboat to go shrimping!

  5. Jake Godbold says:

    “Oh for the good old days of horse and buggy transportation and a rowboat to go shrimping!”

    Good post misstassie, Mayport is a slum, it has always been a slum and will continue to be a slum unless we start something better.

    I swear I don’t see how one fishing family can keep an area depressed like Mayport has been for all these years.

    I do know Littlepage agreed with the Mayor that Mayport is a slum but wrote a column the same day opposing the crusie ships.

    Hmmmmmmmmm Littlepage must also have ties to the fishing family at Mayport.

    This guy Littlepage should offer his twisted and bogus comments to the “democratic underground” he would fit right in!

  6. Brad Pitt says:

    I don’t believe that was the real Jake Godbold. I know how he talks and that’s not it. If your going to use a fake name try something like Brad Pitt

  7. g8rluvr says:

    You’re right – it was not the real Jake Godbold posting, but instead Jacksonville Politics’ lonely Waste Management no bid contract supporter.

  8. skipper ed says:

    And I don’t believe you are the real “Brad Pitt”, I think the skipper is better suited for this thread.

    I have been going into mayport for 40 years, first deep sea fishing trip (mid 60’s) followed by several others, being stoned at the haunted house in the early 70’s and the place (mayport) has always been fairly unkempt.

    The cruise ship ind. could exist along with some of the “quaint” fishing village but I think a certain family is being egged on to protest the cruise ships and I’m sure it has nothing to do with personal gain…LOL.

    Anyways here is a link for all the old time jacksovillians:

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/inside/50th/news-article.aspx?storyid=90330

  9. […] Of course they did have that embarrassing E-mail from Eric Green and the Sunshine Law issues and the residents’ challenge to the validity of the UNF economic impact study to grapple with as […]

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