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CM Becton Requests Community Support for Bill 2018-271

Jacksonville, FL (Updated December 12, 2018) -- Building Better Neighborhoods, Improving Public Safety and Protecting Taxpayers, Councilmember Becton is requesting community support for his Neighbor and Taxpayer Protection legislation 2018-271 as special interest groups push back. He needs you to contact city council per the email address below to express your support!

The legislation 2018-271 is Councilman Becton’s initiative for improving new neighborhoods and protecting Tax Payers by updating local building code standards to improve residential streets to make them wider and to allow for newly built roads to be constructed in phases as to having a new road look once a new neighborhood is built-out. In addition, it adds new warranties for any right-of-way improvements to protect taxpayers against materials and workmanship.

The following list is included in Councilman Becton’s 2018-271 White Paper:

  • To require bonding or other guarantees for “platted” right-of-way infrastructure improvements during construction and warranty bonding upon acceptance of those improvements, including roadways, curb and gutters, drainage piping, structures, and sidewalks.
  • To require all local streets in a residential subdivision in zoning district's RLD-60 or smaller to require that they be a minimum of twenty-four (24) feet, not including curb and gutter.
  • To require a two-lift pavement system in the building of new roadways.
  • To provide for a requirement that business and commercial property owners upon substantial upgrades look to provide “connectivity” with their adjacent neighbors based on criteria as defined.

Councilman Becton said the legislation conditions were inspired by communities within District 11, and across the City of Jacksonville whereby higher density neighborhoods have created unique needs.

Over the past four years, I have seen newly planned neighborhoods almost exclusively planned out to be 40, 50- and 60- foot lot sizes,” Becton explained. “These smaller lot sizes create higher density communities whereby parking, specifically out on the street creates a public safety hazard.” Becton noted. 

Neighborhoods with these smaller lot sizes do not provide much room for parking for friends, family and visitors as the current requirement for ancillary roadways within neighborhoods is only 20 feet,” Becton continued. "If two cars happened to park on both sides of the roadway across from each other, it is impossible for a large fire truck or public safety vehicle to pass.” 

"It has been confirmed by the Fire Chief himself that there have been instances whereby emergency vehicles have been restricted from passing," Becton acknowledged.

Also, inspired by past neighborhoods issues within District 11, include some neighborhoods that have seen newly built roads look terrible after acceptance with the city. “Large trucks and construction crews damage the roadways, curbing and leave the repairs to the tax payer,” Becton explain. “What is being changed in this bill is the road building process; to change it from a one-lift implementation to a two-lift process, that is completed when more of the homes have been built,” Becton noted.

Councilman Becton is asking for communities’ in their help to express support and to urge council members to pass this legislation. Right now, the legislation has passed the Transportation, Energy & Utility (TEU) committee unanimously back on November 19, picking up three additional co-sponsors but has been continually “deferred” by the Land Use and Zoning chair and Council President until at least February 5th, 2019 as a result of special interest opposition.

Please let the following council members know how important this legislation is to building better neighborhoods by keeping our roads passable for public safety and for keeping the public roadways in the condition for which new neighborhoods deserve.

This Bill has passed out of Three COJ Advisory Committees and TEU:

Subdivision Standards and Policy Advisory Committee 9/11 (Passed Unanimously), Context Sensitive Streets, 9/18 (Passed Unanimously) and Planning Commission, 11/7 (Passed by a Vote of 7 – 2), Transportation, Energy & Utility Committee 11/19 (Passed Unanimously with added co-sponsors including Gulliford, Wilson, Crescimbeni & Ferraro).

2018-271 White Paper - CM Danny Becton

2018-271 COJ Planning and Development Staff Report

2018-271 Bill as Amended for Committee

Council Member Listing: City Council Listing

Sample Letter:

I am writing to you in Support of Bill #2018-271 as I believe the issues presented in this bill are valid and would be well suited to address concerns for building new neighborhoods and for interconnecting commercial corridors in Duval County. The rapid growth of the type of development this bill addresses necessitates broader considerations as higher density developments present unique opportunities. This bill improves those neighborhoods, enhances public safety and protects taxpayers from being on the hook as a result of road damage caused by construction activity and the lack of warranties.

The number one issue for road width minimums is public safety. When streets are 20 feet in width and subdivisions do not have restrictions precluding the parking on both sides of the street, it has been witnessed by the Fire Chief himself, that Fire & Rescue emergency vehicles can barely pass or have been restricted altogether trying to navigate a street when these conditions occur. These large vehicles also have difficulty making the necessary turns in their attempt to enter a street when roads are narrower. Cars parked on the street as a result of friends, family and guests cause these issues and communities within the 40, 50 and 60 ft lot sizes of higher density, to make matters worse. What happens when time is of the essence to save a life or respond to a house fire and an emergency vehicle can not pass?

The second issue being addressed in this bill is the paving of roads when a community is built and turned over to the city for continued maintenance. As additional homes are constructed, roads become damaged and guess who pays for the repairs? The taxpayer! The two-lift process and the requirement that a sufficient amount of the homes be completed is not only reasonable but should be a requirement in order for residents of new communities to have roads provided that look like new as well. The taxpayers should not be on the hook for the repairs caused by the process of building these new homes.

Lastly, inter-connectivity of commercial and office use facilities is a current requirement for new construction as supported by the City’s own Comprehensive Plan. It makes sense to help older commercial areas accomplish the same. Without help, property owners have no incentive to cooperate and help improve local traffic and roadways from unnecessary congestion. In addition, many of these commercial property owners are out of town entities not local residents to care. For those instances where connections do not make sense, this bill specifies criteria for which not only are these situations abated, but allow inter-connectivity only when these situations change.

Please support this bill 2018-271 and vote YES!

Council Committee(s) Listing and Information: City Council Committee Listings

Land-Use and Zoning: (Deferred till 2/5/2019 by LUZ Chair/Council President)
Council Member Matt Schellenberg, Chair, MattS@coj.net
Council Member Anna Lopez Brosche, abrosche@coj.net
Council Member Al Ferraro, Ferraro@coj.net
Council Member Reggie Gaffney, rgaffney@coj.net
Council Member JuCoby Pittman, jpittman@coj.net
Council Member Randy White, randywhite@coj.net

Other Notable Council Members to contact:
Council Member Joyce Morgan, JoyceMorgan@coj.net
Council Member Lori Boyer, LBoyer@coj.net
Council Member Aaron Bowman, ABowman@coj.net
Council Member Garrett Dennis, GarrettD@coj.net
Council Member Bill Gulliford, Gulliford@coj.net
Council Member Tommy Hazouri, THazouri@coj.net
Council Member Greg Anderson, GAnderson@coj.net
Council Member Samuel Newby, SNewby@coj.net
Council Member Jim Love, jimlove@coj.net
Council Member John Crescimbeni, jrc@coj.net
Council Member Scott Wilson, swilson@coj.net
Council Member Terrance Freeman, tfreeman@coj.net