Council special committee seeks solution to ‘missing middle’ housing

One option would allow for more duplexes and fourplexes on parcels zoned low- and medium-density residential.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 5:40 p.m. April 1, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Jacksonville zoning laws limit the construction of duplexes and fourplexes.
Jacksonville zoning laws limit the construction of duplexes and fourplexes.
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In a move aimed at increasing Duval County’s housing options for those who can’t afford homeownership, a City Council committee took a preliminary step April 1 toward allowing construction of more multifamily developments on infill parcels.

The Special Committee on Homelessness and Affordable Housing asked city staff to provide information on the cost, scope and timeline of a study to identify areas of the city that would be suitable for higher-density zoning. 

Council member Jimmy Peluso, a member of the committee, said the zoning changes were needed due to barriers to homeownership such as high interest rates and rising costs of homes on the market in Northeast Florida. 

Council member Jimmy Peluso

“We need more options, and it’s only going to harm the next generation of Jacksonville residents if we’re not doing our job as a body to make sure that we’re offering those options,” he said.

City staff reported that now 91% of the land zoned residential in those areas is restricted to single-family usage, limiting the amount of property that can be developed with so-called “missing middle” housing. That term is often used to describe properties like duplexes and fourplexes, which lie in the middle of the range of density between single-family residences and large developments like high-rises or apartment complexes with multiple buildings. 

The study would focus on two areas that together essentially comprise the portions of the county that were developed before the consolidation of city and county government in 1968.

Across those two areas, current zoning laws allow for an increase to 30 units an acre from 20 units on parcels through normal city processes. For properties zoned low-density residential, a study is required for Council to raise the density to a target of 15 units per acre from the current 7 acres. 

Joe Carlucci

Council member Joe Carlucci, chair of the special committee, said the goal of the study would be to identify areas where increased density would be appropriate. Criteria for that determination include whether properties are on or near collector or arterial roads, are in locations already characterized by a variety of land uses and are close to mass transit.

Any changes in density regulations would not apply to areas with their own zoning overlays, such as Downtown and San Marco.

At the committee’s direction, staff will determine the cost of the study and how long it would take to conduct it in-house versus working with an outside consultant. 

The special committee’s last scheduled meeting is April 22, ahead of a May 1 deadline to report its findings and make recommendations. Council President Ron Salem appointed the committee in October 2023, and it met for the first time a month later.

The committee’s work comes amid a sharp rise in home prices in Duval County and recent increases in mortgage interest rates. According to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, the median sales price of homes in the county was $349,000 in February, the last month for which statistics were available. That was 68% higher than the price five years ago – $207,200 in February 2019.

Rent also is rising in the area. A recent study by showed that Jacksonville experienced the sixth-largest increase in rent in the past year among 50 cities across the U.S.

A recent study by showed that rent increased 8.2% in Jacksonville in the past year to a median of $1,781 per month. Percentage-wise, that was the sixth-largest increase among 50 U.S. cities included in the study. 



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