Jax Beach residents to vote on proposal for taller buildings

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A change in a Jacksonville Beach ordinance could mean more rooftop restaurants. However, it comes at a cost that some locals don’t want: a change in the landscape.


Voters will decide whether to increase the city’s building height restriction by 20 feet to a total of 55 feet, which is about five floors total compared to three stories now.

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“If it’s going to bring in more people, then I would say do it. But it has pros and cons to it. It’s good because it brings more exposure,” Sophia Sanchez said. “It’s negative because we don’t want the place to get too crowded.”

The proposal would only change the ordinance at the Latham Plaza parking lot. It was originally voted on and approved twenty years ago to protect the “aesthetics” of Jacksonville Beach.

Read: Jacksonville Beach City Council to hear new additions to paid parking program

“This is a very emotional issue for our citizens, a lot of them worked really hard in 2004 to get this amendment on the ballot and then passed,” Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the parking lot is already going to be developed to include retail, restaurants, and a parking garage. She said approving the amendment would give the developer extra space.

“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,” she 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.”

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The proposal went before Jax Beach council on Monday and will have another public hearing in two weeks. It will go on the ballot May 16.