Residents concerned about proposed development

67 homes would be built in Mandarin if rezoning passes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Residents are concerned a new single family housing development in Mandarin would crowd the area and change the character of their community.

Thursday night city councilman Matt Schellenberg faced off with unhappy constituents who don't want a new development in what they say is an already overcrowded neighborhood.

The proposed development would be built on Joda Lane, just south of Old St. Augustine Road.

Residents say the issue is traffic. They claim their area is quiet and peaceful. But if 67 new homes were build their roads would no longer be peaceful.

"I live right next door. I'm very concerned it's going to affect my rural life that I have right now today," said Lenora Copper, resident.

The Jacksonville City Council could rezone the area from rural and residential low density to a planned unit development. It would allow the company that owns the land to build 67 homes in a 17.6 acre area.

Mandarin's city councilman finds himself in the middle of the argument.

"They are not zoned for anything. They do have certain rights," said Schellenberg.

"What you're doing is putting 67 houses and all that traffic, multiply the number of cars with teenagers in each house, multiply that and you put it in a small neighborhood street not a major artery. You're increasing traffic in an area that can't handle it," said Marie Quinones.

Another resident is concerned the homes will be packed too closely together.

"Their retention pond looks too small, their streets look too narrow, there is very little surrounding yard around each and every home. They are packed together very tightly," said Charles Lipscomb.

Grace Farms Investments owns the land.  It asked the City Council for the roughly 17 acres to be rezoned, allowing them to build 67 homes, each on 60 foot wide lots.

Schellenberg said he understands residents' questions but said the planned development is similar to others already in the area.

"If you looked across the street there's a lot of development going on on that side and those lots, some of them are 90 foot, but a vast majority of them are 60 or 70 which really more or less what this new development will be at 60," said Schellenberg."

Schellenberg said nothing is set in stone. He asked for a deferral to give the residents an opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposed ordinance. He is working to schedule a meeting with residents for early May.

"Good developers as this one listen to the residents because they want to make this place successful because they are a part of the community," said Schellenberg.

The proposed ordinance would go to the Planning Commission, then the Land Use and Zoning Committee, then Council for final approval.  

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