Jacksonville, FL (September 10, 2018) – Bayard residents filled the Fellowship Hall at Julington Baptist Church where District 11 Councilman Danny Becton held a Bayard Town Hall to discuss a proposed rezoning for property on US-1.
The Town Hall was the first community meeting regarding the newly proposed rezoning for two parcels of land on Phillips Highway, south of Bayard Blvd. It was scheduled from 6:30 to 8pm on September 10th, and Councilman Becton didn’t want to waste any time.
“Let’s distill the rumors and give you the facts,” Becton said at the start of the meeting.
Becton said both the proposal nor application has been filed, and the purpose of the meeting was to allow the homeowners, and long-time residents of Bayard, the opportunity to interact with the buyer’s representatives, voice concerns and be part of the planning from the very start.
“At the end of the day, we want to hear from you,” Councilman Becton said.
The buyer’s representatives, Charlie Mann and Michael Herzberg, were at the meeting, as well as Bruce Lewis with the Planning Department, Bill Joyce with Public Works, and Chiquita Moore with the Mayor’s office.
Mann discussed the buyer’s current plans for Bayard and how they came about, but reiterated “nothing has been etched yet.” He said the buyer went to the city several times to figure out the zoning for the properties and learn the development criteria for the area.
In the current Bayard Redevelopment PUD, the written description for Exhibit D states, “the developer of the property has identified an opportunity to provide a mixed-use commercial project, incorporating both retail shopping space as well as a hotel, serving not only the immediate Bayard area but also those commuting and or visiting area residents.”
During the meeting, Councilman Becton and Mann showed a map of where the two parcels are located and went over where a proposed four-story hotel with 80 to 100 rooms may be.
The hotel sparked lots of reaction. One resident spoke out about his fear that this plan would “open the door” to more development in Bayard and eventually create problems in their residential neighborhood.
When Residents rejected the idea of a hotel, Becton said “there isn’t even a specific site plan yet but eventually there will be one.”
“I am always honest with my constituents when it comes down to a proposed rezoning or development,” Becton said. “I explain that something is going to be built, whether it’s now or later.”
Bruce Lewis with the city’s Planning Department explained that two lots were zoned commercial when the 2007 Bayard Smart Code passed. This means a developer can purchase it at any time and build what they want without permission. Becton listed several other properties on US-1 with ‘For Sale’ signs out front that are zoned as commercial as well, but he reminded the residents that the current buyers are interested in the residents’ ideas.
Steve Targonski is a long-time resident with a history that runs deep in Bayard, just like Targonski Street, which is in the Bayard neighborhood and named after his family. He came out to the town hall with sister and brother-in-law, and he said his family witnessed all the major changes happen in and around his home from Interstate 95 to 9B.
“My roots are here. I’m the 6th generation to grow up and live in Bayard,” Targonski said. He said he rather his home stays the secret it’s always been. However, he said if that’s not a possibility, he prefers the property to be valuable and not something “low rent.”
“If it’s a high dollar hotel that we can’t stop, so be it.” Targonski said. “But we don’t want any motels.
Becton confirmed that the proposed hotel will have a name like Marriot or Hilton, not Motel 9, but also suggested turning Targonski Street into a buffer since one of the biggest concerns of residents vocalized during the meeting was the lack of separation and distance between the commercial properties and their residential neighborhood.
Another major issue residents discussed was the drainage in Bayard, storm water runoff and flooding. Councilman Becton said he and Bill Joyce with Public Works plan to meet to discuss possible solutions to investigate this situation.
Before concluding the meeting, Councilman Becton stressed to the residents that the proposed rezoning has a long way to go and hopes to continue their conversation with the Bayard residents moving forward.
Update: Councilman Becton along with Public Works Director John Pappas, Operations Director Bill Joyce and Chief of Developmental Services Mike Sands will be having a field trip in the area on September 24th at 2pm. Their focus will be to see first hand issues as discussed on storm water concerns as noted at the previous workshop meeting.
The Below Publications are Available:
Shoppes of Bayard
2005-1083 Bill Enacted, 2005-1083 Site Plan
Bayard Smart Code Vision Plan,
2009-157 Exhibit 1, 2009-157 Exhibit 2, 2009-157 Planning & Development Dept Report
2018 Proposed Bayard PUD July 26