3 controversial construction projects go before Jacksonville City Council, including one near Pumpkin Hill Preserve

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several controversial construction projects are coming up before the Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday night.

One of them that many people have spoken out against in the past involves a new development in Northeast Jacksonville Near the Pumpkin Hill Preserve. People living in the area say it is just too much.

The proposed new homes will not be directly on the preserve but some residents believe the number of new houses will impact the natural area that the city is trying to preserve.

People that live in the area said everyone needs to pay attention to what exactly is happening because it’s taxpayers’ money that could be affected by all of this.

Sharlene Byrun and Stu Jones are just two of those planning to speak out Tuesday on a vote that could change their neighborhood.

It’s possible 100 new houses could be built joining other development in the area. Pumpkin Hill is a natural preserve that the city has set aside to protect but Byrun said this plan is just getting too close.

“We are doing this for the taxpayers of Jacksonville. It’s their money that was used to procure Pumpkin Hill under the Better Jacksonville Plan,” Byrun said.

Jones isn’t totally against the development but said it has to be done correctly.

“They have the right to put believe 12 houses on there. And that’s, you know, that’s, that’s what they can do. They can also petition for this amendment change, or this rezoning change. But that doesn’t mean that has to be granted. That’s, that’s something they need to do. And just because they asked for it doesn’t mean that should be done. It’s not right for this area. It’s not consistent. It’s not compatible,” Jones said.

The council has put off a decision on this zoning change and now will hear from residents again. The problem: it could be the last agenda item the council takes up.

“They are hoping that the majority of us will just give up and leave. And they won’t even have to listen to us speak. Because we’ve heard the comments. ‘Oh my gosh, here they come again,’” Pumpkin Hill resident Sharlene Byrun said.

Councilman Al Ferraro who represents the area and is running for mayor believes it is going to pass despite the objections and says it’s a big mistake for the entire city.

“I think this is kind of the floodgates opening up in the area of our parks and preserves, not to mention the rest of our city,” Ferraro said.

News4JAX reached out to the developer’s lawyer but got no response.

Another controversial zoning issue the council is taking up is on Livingston Road in Mandarin where 100 townhomes could be built. And they will talk about a potential storage facility in San Marco along Prudential Drive during what could be a marathon meeting.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.