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Jacksonville Beach FL - 365 Things to Do Attend a Planning Commission Meeting

Posted By Rosie HetmanClemente @ Jan 15th 2013 10:53am In: Living in Jacksonville Beach Fl

Recently I attended the planning commission meeting series to hear the discussion on an application for conditional use approval for an indoor pistol range on Penman Rd (PC#30-12) in Jacksonville Beach, FL it was a very educational experience and if you are unfamiliar with how our local government works attending one of these is a must-do.

In Jacksonville Beach, FL zoning exceptions (variances, conditional uses etc) are applied for through the city and are heard before a panel of planning commissioners. The overview of the Planning Commission is stated on their website *"The Planning Commission serves as the Local Planning Agency as required by Florida Statutes and hears applications for development permits and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission is composed of five members and two alternates who are appointed by the City Council for four-year terms. Members must be residents of Jacksonville Beach for at least two years prior to appointment."

Applicants can file their variances or conditional use applications at the city zoning department located in the Jacksonville Beach, FL city hall. Applications include the information on what the plans for the property include and must meet a ten step criteria for approval. Some of the criteria for approval include: being consistent with the comprehensive plan (the vision for that area as rendered by the planning commission and recorded in public record), consistent with the character of the immediate vicinity, not having an adverse effect on the permitted uses of the zoning district where it is located.

The application is brought up for public hearing at the next available meeting (the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month in the City Council Chambers Jacksonville Beach, FL City Hall), the applicant is required to notify the neighbors within a few hundred feet of the proposed change and post a sign on the property where the change is requested. The sign only indicates the application number so if you're driving by and notice a sign in your neighborhood then search the records to find out what the proposed change is to see if you are interested in attending.

During the public hearing the applicant is permitted to speak and explain their application, the Jacksonville Beach, FL planning commission may ask questions or request plans or visuals in order to help them decide. It's best if you're the applicant to make sure you have ample information to answer any questions related to that 10 step criteria used for approval and be prepared to answer any public comment that speaks to that criteria with factual evidence. If you're in opposition to an application then the same is recommended. Be factual and address concerns only that have to do with that criteria that will be used in reviewing the application, if you find something that is not being addressed or met in that criteria then provide evidence to support that the application or applicant is not meeting those standards and BE ORGANIZED, TO THE POINT AND PROVIDE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION.

Once all the information is heard from the applicant and the public comments, the applicant is allowed a rebuttal to answer the public comments. In some cases, the applicant may not be prepared to answer these concerns and may defer to the next meeting in order to gather the information. At the next meeting the applicant is allowed a rebuttal and the planning commission may ask questions, if there is NEW information that is provided by the applicant that the public did not have an opportunity to comment on, then the Jacksonville Beach, Fl Planning commission MAY open up for more comment in order to serve due process. Once all is heard and the questions are answered, then they are asked to make a motion for approval or denial. The vote is done by role and the decision to approve or deny is made publically.

Many of these applications go uncontested by public comment so the role of the planning commission is very important. These are members of the public, many with other professions, they rely on the applicants and the public to provide any evidence for or against an application for change. So STAY informed look for the signs around you in Jacksonville Beach, FL check out the agendas for these meetings and participate in your governments decisions.

The factual data that aided in this decision was provided by the community, letters in opposition defining the economic impact on their business were provided by the business owners who were opposed, letters from the residents indicating their concerns for decline in property values and this not being consistent with the harmonious development, letters and petitions signed by experienced REALTORSâ speaking to the decline in adjacent residential property values, copies of the comprehensive plan and statistics on accidental discharges and accidents reported in a 10 month period which was published in Dec 2012. This particular application was denied based on the following criteria:

(b)The conditional use is consistent with the character of the immediate vicinity of the land proposed for development, and designed so that it is consistent with the harmonious development of the zoning district in which it is proposed; (Was not in line with the comprehensive plan for that corridor)

(d) The proposed conditional use will have an adverse effect on the permit-ted uses of the zoning district where it is located; (Residential Properties Adjacent to proposal)

(e) The proposed conditional use will have an adverse effect on the permit-ted uses of the zoning district where it is located; (Commercial Properties that serve the public bakery, restaurants and Schools *the closest school was 200 feet away across the street)

Again, stay informed of changes in your community Jacksonville Beach, FL voice your support or concerns and let your facts be heard.


Rosie Hetman-Clemente, Broker Owner Atlantic Shores Realty of Jacksonville, LLC and Jacksonville Beach, FL Resident


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