Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

San Marco Residents Voice Opposition to Zoning Change

The controversial zoning change at 3634 Hendricks Avenue, which was apparently requested by a prominent Jacksonville lobbyist for property that his family owns, is meeting staunch resistance from San Marco residents. City Council members have been flooded e-mails in opposition to the change and residents have scheduled a press conference for Monday at 11:30 on the site of the property in question. Here are a sampling of the e-mails that have arrived in Council Members e-mail boxes from prominent San Marco residents:

Dear Councilman(woman):
My name is Michael Fox and am a physician living in San Marco proper. I am opposed to the plan to rezone the west side of Hendricks avenue to any type of commercial Property or PUD. I live very near the proposed property in question at 2311 Laurel Road. I do not support this move for any reason and ask that you vote against this measuere. There is absolutely no good reason to take this action. I will give you several reasons:

1. Commercial property backing right up to residential always lowers values for the nearby homes. With lower values come rentals, and decreased pride in maintainence. San Marco is one of this cities’ jewels and needs preservation. Just look at Inwood Terrace with Metro Diner and the commercial strip there with Beard’s jewelry. That thru street is the worst street West of Hendricks. Don’t do that to Lakewood / Pinetree, etc. This wasn’t as big an issue on the East side due to much lower home values. At the height of the market, houses two to three in from the street were selling for $400 – 600K. Who’s going to spend that money next to a business?
2. As values drop, the commercial property will extend further up the road due to depriciation, ruining the neighborhood feel of the Hendricks drive. This perception continues all the way to Baymeadows road.
3. I’ve heard it said that there is concern over possible renting on the Hendricks street front. That may well happen as it will in many areas of San Marco due to depressed prices but ownership will increase with the economic recovery.
4. There is no real need for commercial property since each day businesses close and space becomes vacant. From an efficiency standpoint, why should anyone spend money on building when such space vacancies exist. There are vacancies all the way to Baptist Hospital on San Marco BLVD
5. In the spirit of “live where you work” which is a green concept and one the Mayor has pushed for years, the “good” housing areas surrounding Downtown are limited, and we shouldn’t sacrifice any residential at this time. The downtown business area is one of the largest and most concentrated areas in town. My wife also a physician, owned a house 1441 Northwood Rd a similar location to the propery in question that she lived in for 4 years while she was a resident at Shands hospital. So high end occupants are in search of similar affordable housing in the San Marco Area. Her parents currently reside in this house.
6. Lastly, the traffic interruptions of the busy street, Hendricks Avenue, would add to an already congested thoroughfare. The businesses on the East side of the street exhemplify this. Turning onto a residential street can be accomplished at 15 or so mph but a near complete stop is required to turn into a driveway facing Hendricks. Businesses will increase this hazard a great deal for the children in the area!!

In summary, I can find no rational reason for such action other than a favor is owed to someone. In this day of unethical politics, I would hope the city council would exercise good judgement and help struggling people preserve their home values as depressed as they are and not add insult to injury. One of the biggest draws to San Marco is the residential feel to a near an urban area. Please help us preserve this.
Dear Council Members,

It has just come to our attention that there is a plan to re-zone the west side of Hendricks Avenue for commercial usage. We live in the San Marco neighborhood and have NOT been aware of any zoning signs required by our City law to inform us of this plan. We oppose this plan and urge you to reject this plan and vote NO at the next City Council meeting on March 10, 2009. This application is for 3634 Hendricks Ave, and would like you to
vote no on any future commercial re-zoning plans for this area of San Marco. We would like to keep our neighborhood a family friendly neighborhood that contributes greatly to Greater Jacksonville.
My name is Lizz Wodrich, I live at 860 Waterman Road South, and I
OPPOSE the plan to re-zone the west side of Hendricks Avenue to ANY
type of commercial use, including PUD. Please vote NO to reject this
application (3634 Hendricks Ave.) at the next City Council Meeting on
March 10.
I am writing to you to let you know of my opposition to the rezoning of 3634 Hendricks Avenue. This property is right in the middle of a residential area of Hendricks Avenue. It is connected to five different properties that are all residential. The parking lot for this property, if rezoned, would be right behind or next to these neighbors’ backyards. I know I would not want a two story office building that is permitted to stay open until 10 PM next door to me or fight in my backyard. I can just imagine security lights shining into the affected neighbors’ windows at night. What doctor or lawyer needs to have hours of operation well into the evening hours anyway?

It is true that the east side of Hendricks has many professional offices, but that does not mean the west side has to suffer the same fate. We strive hard to maintain a sense of a quiet family friendly neighborhood in spite of our close proximity to downtown. We have become a neighborhood that is full of children, many of whom walk right by this property to get to Hendricks Avenue Elementary School every day. We do not want the safety and security of our children to be compromised. We also believe this would adversely affect property values of the homes in our neighborhood. Our homes are already being adversely affected by the current state of the economy and real estate market. Locating a business among our residences would only devalue our homes even more.

A similar rezoning was requested for a property a short distance to the north of this property in 2003. The request was for a one chair beauty salon to be run out of the owner’s home. The request was flatly denied because of safety and traffic issues. How does a two story office building with six parking spaces that is permitted to stay open from 6 AM until 10 PM meet the standards for safety and traffic requirements if a one chair salon did not? Is there a double standard in play here?

I ask that you would please give thoughtful consideration to voting against this proposed rezoning. Please help us keep our neighborhood intact.


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  1. […] a zoning change on Hendricks Avenue could generate so much interest? But, stir people up it did. This post bears evidence to a very small sampling of the reaction by neighbors. What has been left unanswered; however, is why this rezoning request […]

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