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Jax Beach residents overwhelmingly vote down height restriction amendment

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A renewed fight to keep building heights in Jacksonville Beach to 35 feet overwhelmingly won, again. 82% of voters disagreed with increasing the restriction for development at the Latham Plaza parking lot to 55 feet on Election Day.

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The amendment to the charter was approved by the city council and passed on to the ballot back in March (Jax Beach residents to vote on proposal for taller buildings – Action News Jax).

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“To be able to be more flexible, more creative with the space — one thing everyone is always asking us for is rooftop dining and opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather we have here,” Mayor Chris Hoffman said. “This is a perfect project in my mind to see first of all, what the will of the voters is and if the voters support it.”

But a large group came out in opposition to the proposal. It included many of the same neighbors who pushed for a height restriction in the first place back in 2004. Jax Beach voters approved the restriction then by 76%.

“We think a small, local community with reasonably sized buildings is a much better draw than some big thing that looks like Daytona Beach or Miami,” John Tipton, a resident, said. “We’re afraid this is just the beginning to increase the height limit in the central business district.”

Related Story: Jax Beach residents to vote on proposal for taller buildings

Mayor Hoffman told Action News Jax in March that the referendum was to gauge voter’s interest in a change and council would then consider changes to the rest of the central business district.

“We’re getting some great new development at 35 — these are all new here and they’re doing great so why can’t we keep it at 35 feet,” said Brenda Shields.

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18% of voters voted yes on the referendum Tuesday.

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