JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People living in the Fairway Oaks community of northwest Jacksonville took their protest to the front of the Duval County Courthouse Friday afternoon. Over the past two years, the News4Jax I-Team has been digging into reports that show in 2000, HabiJax built 85 homes near an old landfill. People living there say they have potentially contaminated soil and poor construction that left their homes falling apart.
Neighbors said the protest is coming just ahead of a court hearing connected to a lawsuit they've filed against the city and HabiJax.
Despite several attempts to get the lawsuit thrown out, it is still moving through the courts for now.
Neighbors in Fairway Oaks say they should be compensated for the value of their homes so they can move.
"One of our main concerns is our houses have no value," said Nathaniel Borden, president of the homeowners association for Fairway Oaks.
He said that's just one concern he and his neighbors have been dealing with for years.
News4Jax has been following the case with the community but Borden said despite the media attention, residents are still living in dangerous conditions.
"Most of the houses out there in Fairway Oaks are splitting in half and are actually separating to where, the houses along Moncrief Creek are splitting in half, to that half the houses will actually be in the creek in the next couple of years," Borden said.
Last year, homeowners in Fairway Oaks sued the city of Jacksonville and HabiJax. Borden said they received the following response to the lawsuit.
It says in part, the plantiffs' damages "..must be reduced by the allocation of fault to non-parties whose actions or inactions caused or contributed to plaintiff’s and class members’ Damages…”
"..over whom the City had no responsibility or control.”
It goes on to say those parties include:
- The former landowners where Fairway Oaks was built.
- Its homeowners association.
- The Environmental Protection Agency and the Housing and Urban Development Department, among many others.
Borden said it's a blame shift.
“I took it as if, now they want to shift blame from them, now that we’re actually getting somewhere in the lawsuit with our attorney, Jack Krumbein,” Borden said.
He and his neighbors protested Friday as they have done many times in the past to send a message.
The protest started around 12:45 p.m. Friday, with the court hearing afterward.
News4Jax reached out to the city and HabiJax. There has been no response from the city, HabiJax said it will not publicly respond due to the pending lawsuit.