Q: Can you give an update on the O’Connor Road/Melcon Farms development that we discussed last month?
A: This proposal was approved by the planning commission on Sept. 17. It went to the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) committee on Oct. 6, but was deferred until Nov. 4 due to ongoing concerns with road access and the number of houses. The developer is now trying to accommodate these concerns. I plan to host a community meeting in advance of the Nov. 4 LUZ committee meeting; contact my office for the date and time.
Q: What is being done to improve traffic on County Dock Road?
A: Traffic calming is currently being pursued with the installation of two speed humps and lowered speed limit signs; the neighborhood also wants to meet about the parking issue at the neighboring park, which we will do at a time still to be determined.
Q: What were some of the significant items discussed at your Town Hall meeting on Oct. 15?
A: This meeting was held via Zoom with questions submitted ahead of time. One of the things we discussed was medians on San Jose Boulevard and interstate maintenance. For the medians south of I-295 on San Jose, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has a contract that provides for the city to maintain them; however, we were able to get FDOT to agree that these median are tired and they were put in the queue for refurbishment, to include new trees and grass. I don’t have a timeline for this, but at least they acknowledged that the work needs to be done. As for maintenance of the off ramps from I-295 and Old St. Augustine Road and San Jose Boulevard, the contractor is not required to maintain them until the road construction is complete — including the ongoing work on the Buckman Bridge. We were able to get them to agree to go in now and at least mow.
Another topic was speeding on roads in Mandarin. Assistant Chief of JSO Paul Restivo addressed these concerns and described the new process for residents to send their speeding complaints to: JSOtrafficcomplaints@jaxsheriff.org. They can also call the Zone 3 office at (904) 630-8100.
Finally, concern was expressed at the meeting of the number of large vacant properties that are not being maintained along San Jose Boulevard, to include the former Al’s Pizza location, Famous Amos, and Golden Corral. The city is in the process of citing the owners; we should expect to see improvements in this area soon.
Q: Do you see any end in sight to the scheduling issues with garbage pickup in Mandarin?
A: That was also discussed at the Town Hall meeting. There are a couple of challenges with waste hauling services. A representative from Waste Pro was in attendance and he said they have a lot of new drivers who are not as familiar with the routes, but hope that will not be the case for long. Also, we are working with the Public Works department on the possibility of a transfer station in the JTB/Belfort Road area. This would make it easier to maintain the schedule when the trucks don’t have to drive 15 miles one way to Trail Ridge.
Q: Do you want to give Mandarin residents your thoughts on the proposed Lot J development in downtown Jacksonville?
A: I’m on record as being supportive of the idea in principle. My rationale is that for 20 years I looked outside my office window and saw so many unfulfilled promises; Metropolitan Park, the Shipyards area, and even the stadium lay fallow for all but about eight days a year. While I am not there yet in terms of full support, I do believe this partnership proposal where the city’s commitment is finite and the private sector partners will be contractually committed to cover any cost overruns which, in effect, guarantees a completed project as envisioned, warrants more than being discounted out of hand. The city’s money will be going to infrastructure which is needed regardless, and if you consider how much we already give in individual incentives to various projects, this one is about the same over the four to six years … and in this case, the city is a partner in the project. Rest assured my colleagues and I, along with the council auditors, will parse this in great detail over the coming weeks and possibly months.
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.