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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 23, 201905:20 AM EST

Murray Hill self-storage facility draws opposition

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Project is planned at site of former Jones College; Planning Commission roundup.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Murray Hill residents filled a City Hall meeting room Friday to oppose the proposed Jacksonville Storage development at 1195 Edgewood Ave. S., near Roosevelt Boulevard.

The residents said 5,000 people signed a petition opposing the project on the grounds of aesthetics, neighborhood compatibility, reduction in property values and the developer’s intent to delay the retail phase of the project. 

Almost 50 people appeared at an Administrative Deviation meeting to speak against the project.

Jacksonville-based Silverfield Group Inc. proposes to demolish the buildings on the site to redevelop the property into a three-story, 97,000-square-foot self-storage facility and later add a 4,845-square-foot retail space.

The site is northeast of Edgewood Avenue South and Plymouth Street. It includes what was the Edgewood Avenue Theater that became Jones College, which closed in 2017. 

The property is next to commercial, single-family residential and Nelson Street to the north and east.

Proposed self-storage and retail space site plan in Murray Hill.

A self-storage facility is allowed under the current commercial community/general-1 zoning district but must meet additional standards.

The property owner, which would sell the land to the developers, seeks relief from those standards by requesting deviations from the zoning code.

Attorney Steve Diebenow, representing the property owner, Riverton Tower Senior Center Inc., seeks to:

• Reduce the required minimum lot area from 2 acres to 1.2 acres.

• Reduce the building setback on the east side of the property, along Nelson Street,  from 30 feet to 4 feet and on the south side, along Plymouth Street,  from 30 feet to 8 feet.

• Reduce the minimum number of required off-street parking spaces from 51 to 30. 

Diebenow introduced testimony from land planner Fred Atwill, who addressed zoning code issues, and Matt Ray, a real estate appraiser. Ray presented an analysis that said the project would have a minimal impact on neighboring property values.

Development is proposed in phases, with the self-storage and parking in phase one. Retail space construction will follow when a user is identified.

 City planning officials recommended approval of the requested deviations, saying the zoning performance standards are outdated and were written to limit the size of the traditional large footprint, single-story self-storage facilities. 

Land planner Fred Atwill, second from left, attended the Administrative Deviation meeting.

City officials said the proposed multistory facility reduces the need for a large parcel of land and consolidates the area needed for parking. 

They said the proposed setbacks are consistent with the structures along Edgewood Avenue and Plymouth Street and that the development provides commercial infill redevelopment on underused property would not diminish the property values or change the character of the area.

Residents said they don’t want a delay in providing the retail space, which would complete the commercial storefront along Edgewood Avenue South.

Jacksonville Zoning Administrator Sean Kelly has up to 21 days to decide whether to allow the deviations.

His decision can be appealed within 21 days to the Jacksonville Planning Commission.

The Jacksonville Planning Commission

On Thursday, the Jacksonville Planning Commission approved a zoning exception to allow Jax Craft Beer to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, not in conjunction with a restaurant, at 9825 San Jose Blvd., No. 18, in the Mandarin Outback Plaza.

Owner Joseph Byrns plans to serve 32  beers from craft breweries around the country. 

A companion application for a waiver of minimum distance requirements for a liquor license was approved to reduce the distance from Christ Church at 9794 Old St. Augustine Road from 1,500 feet to 449 feet. 

Zoning exceptions and waivers

The Planning Commission also approved zoning exceptions for:

• The Lily Pad Cafe at 9429 Heckscher Drive, between Woodsmen Cove Lane and Shad Creek Drive, to serve beer and wine for on-premises consumption in conjunction with a restaurant.

• Island Wing Co. restaurant at 4409 Southside Blvd., between Touchton Road and Deer Lake Court, to serve all alcoholic beverages on-premises and to allow outside sales and service. The property was a TGI Friday’s restaurant serving all alcohol.

• Island Tropics Restaurant at 2527 N. Main St., between 15th and 16th streets, can serve all alcoholic beverages by right. The restaurant was approved for a waiver of minimum distance requirements for a liquor license, reducing the distance from 500 feet to 436 feet from the Andrew A. Robinson Elementary school at 101 W. 12th St.

Rezoning recommendations

Rezonings require approval by the City Council Land Use and Zoning Committee and then the full council approval.  The Planning Commission recommended rezoning approval for:

• Ordinance 2019-428, which seeks to rezone 3.61 acres at 11915 New Kings Road, between Dunn Avenue and Woodley Road. It would change from residential rural-acre to commercial community general-1 to allow development of the undeveloped parcel for a large animal veterinary clinic.

• Ordinance 2019-429, which seeks to rezone 2.9 acres at 4343 Spring Grove Ave., north of West 33rd Street. It would change from public buildings and facilities-2 to industrial light to allow semitruck parking. The property comprises an existing 1,500-square-foot office building and undeveloped land.

• Ordinance 2019-430, which seeks to rezone 18.04 acres at 12220 Atlantic Blvd., southwest of Kernan and Atlantic boulevards, in the Atlantic-Kernan Shops.  It would change from one planned unit development to another to allow additional commercial uses including indoor amusement, day care, retail sale of used goods, churches and animal boarding. In addition, uses allowed by exception in the commercial community/general-1 zoning district are allowed by exception.

• Ordinance 2019-431, which seeks to rezone 2.15 acres at northwest New Berlin and Dunn Creek roads. It would change from commercial office and commercial community/general-1 to PUD to allow a convenience store and gas station and 9,600 square feet of retail commercial and services.

• Ordinance 2019-432, which seeks to rezone 7.06 acres at 418 Starratt Road, between New Berlin and Starratt roads. It would change from PUD to PUD to allow the additional use of a church. The current PUD allows for commercial uses.

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