Committee on planned unit development zoning roll out first draft legislation

Hoping to usher in the new year with an ordinance that will tighten applications for rezoning to planned unit developments (PUD), John Crescimbeni (Councilmember At-Large), Lori Boyer (District 5) and Bill Gulliford (District 13) discussed a draft of Ordinance 2018-855 at the special committee’s fourth meeting Dec. 7 at City Hall.

The impetus of the bill stems from the large number of PUD rezonings in Jacksonville and the processes by which PUDs are modified and their conditions enforced. One of the reasons identified for the frequent use of PUD zoning is the ability to impose conditions, particularly with regard to buffers, screening, landscaping, compatibility with adjoining uses, and location of entrances and driveways.

The bill would amend Chapter 656 (Zoning Code) of the Municipal Code in Part 3, Subpart F – Planned Unit Development – to add a requirement that PUD written descriptions must contain full explanations of any proposed deviation or waiver of Zoning Code requirement, zoning overlay, subdivision regulation, design standard or other requirement in a separate enumerated section.

The councilmembers heard input from the building industry as well as attorneys, who debated some aspects of the ordinance and suggested changes to the language. T.R. Hainline, a shareholder with Rogers Towers, and Staci Rewis, a shareholder at Gunster, both objected to language that would require the applicant to form a legal entity to maintain common infrastructure within a PUD prior to completion of any phase of development, certificate of occupancy and prior to any modification requested.

Although the two attorneys focused on the latter part of the statement, “and prior to any modification requested,” they came at it from different angles. Hainline’s proposed change in the language would focus on shared or common areas, resulting in the statement “The establishment of the legal entity shall be made prior to the completion of any phase of development, certificate of occupancy and prior to any modification related to such common or shared areas requested of the Planned Unit Development.

Rewis requested that formation of the legal entity not be triggered by a PUD modification at all, citing concerns a market downturn could jeopardize the application for a PUD created to market a property, thus prematurely requiring the legal entity to be created until the PUD modification and potential closing occur. Sometimes properties are rezoned to PUDs to enhance their market value, lessening perceived restrictions under other zoning categories or providing as many permissible uses as possible for the property.

Other concerns the attorneys expressed included the need to seek deviations from Subdivision Regulations, which are addressed in a different portion of the Municipal Code; changes in entrances and driveways which would not be permitted through minor modifications; the use of “lot size” as an ambiguous term, and grandfathering of PUDs approved prior to the enactment of the bill, among others.

Crescimbeni, the chair for the committee, requested Hainline and Boyer work together to modify language in the draft regarding some of the concerns. The committee will meet next on Friday, Jan. 4. The bill’s first stop will be a hearing at the Planning Commission, then it will be heard by City Council’s Land Use and Zoning Committee before a final hearing by City Council. Since all three members, Boyer, Crescimbeni and Gulliford, will finish their second terms on City Council June 30, 2019, they are seeking to see the bill adopted before that date.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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