Q: Do you have any Mandarin updates from the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ)  meeting on Sept. 15?

A: At this meeting the LUZ didn’t not approve the application for development along Aladdin Road and Julington Creek Road for 55 single family homes. The issue largely was that the parcel of land in question is landlocked and the only access was proposed to be a narrow strip along Aladdin Road. The committee was concerned that the proposed development would generate too much additional traffic and flooding issues.

Q: What can you tell us about the proposed 260-unit apartment complex proposed along San Jose Boulevard, just south of Don Juan’s restaurant?
A: Let me first say, given I am intimately familiar with the traffic challenges all along San Jose Boulevard, I did not support the rezoning and voiced my opposition to it at the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Committee meeting. However, a multi-unit apartment complex is, frankly, the lesser of two evils and let me explain why: 

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The majority of the site was zoned Commercial Office/RPI which means under that zoning nearly every square foot could be developed as commercial and/or professional office space or a mixture of residential, professional and industrial use that would have included up to 179 dwelling units. While changing the entire parcel to Planned Use Development (PUD) allowed the developer to exceed the existing overlay’s height limitation, it also eliminated any commercial and industrial use of the property and held them to the commitment of a two-and-a-half acre buffer along the back of the parcel where it backs up to single family homes. 

When I asked the Planning Department about traffic considerations, here was the response I received from the Director of the Department: “As you know a small portion of the site has a PUD that allows for a car wash that would generate 432 trips. The remaining portion of the site is zone CO. The site allows for a 50 percent lot coverage. Assuming a three-story commercial office building the site would generate 5,511 trips, then in total the site today has the potential to generate 5,943 trips. The proposed PUD of 260 dwelling units is projected to generate 1,903 trips, one-third of the number of trips the current zoning would generate.”

For the record while I voted against it, the rest of the members of the LUZ Committee supported the application and I fully expect the majority of the Council will do so as well at its Sept. 22 meeting. 

Q: Are there any other proposed projects of interest at this time?
A: One of two other major projects pending in Mandarin is O’Connor Road/Melcon Farms, proposed for 37 units in addition to the preservation of a house already on the property. It is going to the planning commission on Sept. 17 and if it passes there, LUZ will not take the issue up until October. The other major project, Sissel property on Loretto Road, is still pending.

Q: We are still having a lot of rainfall and flooding in Mandarin continues to be an issue. Do you have any updates on this front?
A: I’ve been working with a number of area neighborhoods personally and have also brought in representatives from JEA and the city’s public works department to hear concerts. Drainage clearing is going on all over Mandarin. We have a commitment in the CIP (the city’s Capital Improvement Plan) for increased funds for underdarining and drawing clearing in the coming year. 

Q: Do you have any community meetings planned?
A: Yes. On Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. I will host a virtual Town Hall meeting via Zoom. The conversation will largely focus on drainage issues  and improvements as well as seeking an improved look for the medians in San Jose Boulevard.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 6?
A: Yes, I have some exciting news! Daryl Joseph, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, just informed me that six pickleball courts are proposed to be built at Walter Anderson Memorial Park. These will be newly designed and constructed for pickleball play. Daryl Joseph said the timing of construction should be by the end of the year or early 2021.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A: Community members can email me at MBoylan@coj.net or call (904) 255-5206.

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