City leaders approve updated, simplified downtown zoning

Plan splits downtown Jacksonville into 8 districts

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter, Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City leaders voted unanimously Wednesday, approving a proposal to update and simplify downtown zoming.

The proposal, led by Council Member Lori Boyer, simplifies the downtown zoning map -- with the hopes of spurring new development.

”I really think it is a major step forward to updating our downtown zoning overlay, but also to streamline some things, and I hope we’ll see the impact of that going forward," Boyer said.

Some say this would make things easier for developers looking to build downtown. It would streamline the current zoning map and reduce the number of downtown districts.

The plan drops the number of zoning districts from 11 down to eight. While some districts will remain the same, one of the biggest changes would be in the area around the stadium and the riverfront, which would form a new sports and entertainment district between the central core and the working waterfront.

Existing Overlay

VIEW PRESENTATION: Downtown Overlay 

Leaders in development say downtown Jacksonville has untapped potential and the changes would help take downtown growth to the next level. That’s why the Jax Chamber is throwing its support behind a plan.

“I think we all want to think of our downtown as Jacksonville’s next greatest neighborhood,” Jax Chamber Chair Debbie Buckland said.

To ensure a thriving downtown, Buckland said at least 10,000 people must live there. Right now, that number is around 4,800. Buckland said an updated zoning overlay takes the guesswork out of what can go where for developers. The process for building would go faster and bring in more business and neighbors.

“That means walkability, that means people walking their dogs, that means people enjoying the riverfront park and Hemming Park. And all of our downtowns,” Buckland added.

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