Post Featured Image

Duval Nocatee Neighborhoods Have Police and Road Concerns

A little known fact is that part of the massive St. Johns County Nocatee community actually lies in Duval County. Residents of Cypress Trails, Brookwood, The Palms (Single Family portion only), Artisan Lakes, and The Villas are members of the District 11 family.

On February 1, more than 100 residents came out to the Nocatee Welcome Center Ballroom to discuss police and road concerns. District 11 Council Member Danny Becton along with Zone 3 Commander Assistant Chief Mat Nemeth and Public Works Operations Director Bill Joyce fielded the residents’ questions and concerns.

The meeting was prompted by late night prowlers who knocked and scratched on windows. When Jacksonville Sheriff Officers were called response times were often in the 30 minute range and officers where noted as having to coming from as far away as JTB area. Assistant Chief Nemeth explained that there is relatively little crime in these neighborhoods as compared to the northern part of the district. Only .02 percent of the 300 calls received from the Duval County portion of Nocatee were categorized as high priority.

Budget and manpower shortages prevent stationing an officer or two in this area, he said. Last year, through retirement and attrition, Zone 3 lost 22 officers for which however, now the department is in process of replacing.

While Duval and St. Johns counties have an inter-local fire and rescue agreement whereby closer St. Johns fire and rescue respond to emergency situations throughout Nocatee, the St. John’s County Sheriff Department officers are limited in their scope of what they can and cannot do in Duval County.

Crumbling and cracked roads also were of concern, especially in the Cypress Trails neighborhood, where relatively new roads are being damaged by construction vehicles. Unlike neighboring St. Johns and Clay, in Duval County, once developers have constructed a new neighborhood’s infrastructure including roads, sidewalks and curbing, these assets are turned over to the city before the first house is ever built. This process of allowing the developer to deed these assets to the city prematurely putting the city in a liability situation as the possibility exists for construction vehicles of all types to cause damage when homes are constructed.

This problem was already on CM Becton’s radar as Chair of the Land Use and Zoning Committee as he explained to the residents. He stated that he would be looking into possible legislation similar to St. Johns and Clay where scenarios to resolve this problem might include having the turn-over later in the construction completion cycle of the neighborhood, to having developers be required to lay multiple layers of asphalt one initially and a final one upon a certain percentage of completion of the neighborhood.

Either way, Director Bill Joyce stated, if it can be proven that a contractor caused specific damage, the city can pull its permits until the road damage is fixed. Unfortunately, such cases of eye witness damage are rare and that he would agree to come on site and assess the current situation for which where the residents have concerns within their community.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that a follow-up meeting in several months would be appropriate to make sure progress is being made.

Check out photos of the event in the Photo Gallery