Published in The Beaches Leader, Letter to the Editor on March 23, 2023
To the editor:
Disheartened. Frustrated. Mad. Those are just some words I use to describe how I have felt after attending the [Jacksonville Beach City] Council meetings for the last couple of months. After listening to much public comment, I know I am not alone.
This council seems to think they know best and that residents should just sit back and trust that the elected officials will make decisions in our best interests. We see how you have been voting so WE DON’T TRUST YOU. This council remains steadfast that the only way to activate the downtown is to increase the height limit, albeit this time for only one public property – the Latham Plaza parking lot. The line they use is that this move is to fulfill residents’ desire for a more vibrant downtown. However, before the focus groups that residents participated in noting that they want to see a vibrant, safe downtown, the excuse to raise the height limit was to attract development to the downtown area. Now that desirable development is happening in our downtown, the message has changed to additional height is needed to activate the area.
Residents are being bamboozled. It has been clearly stated that this property will serve as a test pilot for the rest of the downtown area. It needs to be shot down! It’s time for the council to clearly hear that we, the voters, are tired of their political games. Yes, the developers and downtown property owners who helped get them elected have deep pockets and many resources. But we have our vote, and that is far more precious.
Join us to Protect the Beach Life (ProtectTheBeachLife.com) to defeat this charter amendment. After the May election, we will focus on making sure our next council represents us, the residents.