Readers share views on Park Place at San Marco

Editor’s Note: The Resident received a flood of letters both pro and con to South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church’s request to change the zoning on its property in San Marco Square so that 133 apartments can be built within a four-story apartment building with a three-level, two-story parking garage. All letters that are received by press time will be published by The Resident, either in these pages or on-line. A sampling fills this page and the rest may be found on our website under the Letters to the Editor tab at the top. We want to thank all our readers for supporting the paper, and we are grateful for those who chose to share their feelings about this important issue with us and the community.

I am under the impression that you have mostly heard from people representing opposition to the Park Place development, however I would like to reach out and voice my support.  Right Size San Marco does not represent a majority of residents, and they do not represent me.

I am very concerned about the manipulation of information they have used to convince others to support their cause.  And as a resident I am concerned about the risk to San Marco if they are successful in killing this deal.  The church will be selling this property, whether it is to this developer or not.

While Right Size says they are “pro-development,” I’ve yet to hear a viable alternative for the land use.  I fear that there will not be another developer to step up if this does not pass and the church will sell to someone that will develop it under its current zoning use.  I do not want a gas station, medical building or any other commercial building placed on this valuable property.  This is our one chance to get it right for San Marco.  There is no other location to build a parking garage that will forever SUPPORT the vitality of our Square.

To be transparent, I am a member of the church.  However, I am not an elder, involved in the decision-making process or privy to any of the details.  I only know what others do, based on public record.  I am advocating for this project primarily as a resident of San Marco.  I am disappointed that shops continue to close in the square and believe that higher density within a walkable radius of the Square is the only way to revive our commercial district.

I wanted you to be aware that I am not alone in this.  In a week, using only word of mouth, I have gathered over 100 names of people in 32207 that support the Park Place development.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss further or have any questions regarding why we believe this is right for San Marco.

I appreciate the Resident’s role in our community and the work that you do.

Morgan Roberts

Math matters. Especially when it comes to development. You’ve got all kinds of numbers floating around our conversations regarding Park Place – calculations of area, density, and profit, percentages, and perhaps the most basic of them all: measurements of length, width, and height – and the height is a big one, literally and figuratively speaking. 

The San Marco Overlay sets the standard for height as a maximum height of 35 feet. The applicant is attempting to circumvent this standard by using a weighted average to calculate the height. Nowhere in the Overlay does the requirement change to a maximum weighted average height. In fact, the entire zoning code does not mention this idea of a maximum weighted average. That is why when I asked Bruce Lewis, the planner in charge of reviewing the rezoning, if he has ever seen a weighted average used to calculate height, he gave a resounding answer of “No.”

The fact that the planning department is allowing the applicant to use this type of calculation to determine height is highly unusual and, dare I say it, disturbing. When I asked the director, Bill Killingsworth, why they were allowing the calculation instead of the simple measurement defined in the zoning code, he said it is up to the City Council to decide if this is an appropriate way to measure height. The planning director is deferring to the City Council and has said this weighted average measurement is not a matter of his interpretation of the code; rather, it is a matter of determination from the council of whether or not the calculation is appropriate.

Furthermore, if we explore the calculations, we find that even the way they are calculating weighted average height doesn’t make sense. The developer is only measuring one side of the building, and by leaving out the other sides of the building, effectively they are calculating the height of the facade of one side, not the height of the entire building.  This is an important distinction because it opens the door to a dangerous precedent. If we allow this calculation in lieu of a traditional measurement of height, it means that in the future, someone could build a home with a single-story garage on one side and build their house as high as they would like on the other. They could choose to measure the garage side of their home, and the precedent would be set to exceed the 35-foot height restriction on all other sides by as many feet as suits the homeowner. We might as well throw the height restrictions out of the Overlay, and out of the zoning code while we are at it, since the Overlay points to the zoning code to define height of a building. This does not only affect the neighbors adjacent to the development or within the San Marco Overlay. This precedent will affect the entire city of Jacksonville.

I am counting on the City Council to hold developers to the standards developed to protect our beloved neighborhood. I am calling on them to vote based on the standards and criteria set forth in the San Marco Overlay and the underlying zoning code. Right Size for San Marco, Right Size for the City.

Lauren Carlucci

I just wanted to drop an email to voice my support for the Park Place project.  I think it’s a great thing for San Marco and the surrounding areas, and I trust the developer to do a great job with the project.  Thank you for your consideration!

Joshua W. Kennedy

After reading the second consecutive front-page story in the Resident News regarding the new Park Place Development in San Marco, I wanted to reach out to voice my support for the project.  

As a former resident of San Marco (and a current “San Marco adjacent” resident of the San Jose neighborhood), my family regularly frequent the shops and restaurants in San Marco Square.  What was once a quick walk to our favorite spots is now a short drive that requires an often frustrating search for parking.  The fact that Park Place addresses significantly enhancing parking for the Square while minimizing traffic impacts is a huge plus for the community. 

It’s an added benefit to know that the church will benefit and be able to continue serving the community as a result of this development as well. As a Deacon at Riverside Presbyterian, I know all too well the challenges that face a large historic church in the urban core.  It seems apparent to me that if South Jax Presbyterian isn’t able to move forward with Park Place, they’ll eventually be forced to move forward with some other developer as financial pressures continue to mount.  It’s reassuring that Corner Lot is a local presence not only in Jacksonville, but in San Marco specifically, and it’s clear from their efforts to engage all parties that they want what is best for the long-term growth of the community.  

I think it’s also important to voice a vote of confidence for South Jax Presbyterian.  The article in The Resident made mention of Right Size San Marco accusing the church of being financially motivated to make decisions that weren’t in the best interest of the community.  I feel confident that the Elders of SJPC have perused a prayerful and purposeful approach to reach a solution to their challenges that allows them to survive while benefiting and enhancing the community.

We’ve seen several businesses in the square move or shutter because of financial pressures and lack of density. I can’t imagine a day when entering the square from the south isn’t accompanied by the welcoming visual of South Jax Presbyterian.  I am in favor of Park Place. 

Ryan D. Ashley 

I am a San Marco resident, property owner and business owner. I do not support the Park Place development as it is currently designed. Those that stand to gain financially from this project (the developers and the local companies involved in building this project) seem to be able to turn a blind eye to what’s best for our beloved San Marco neighborhood, but the truth is, if this project was being built literally behind their single family homes and they didn’t stand to gain financially from the project, they would be against it as well.

This development as currently outlined requires a zoning change that is not in keeping with the recently ratified San Marco by Design overlay. It’s too dense and too big to be built where it will abut single family homes on two sides. Additionally, the developer is using fuzzy math to try to get around height limitations in their PUD application.

The design of the apartment complex looks like any other cheaply, quickly constructed apartment complex you see anywhere else in Jacksonville. You could pick this building up and put it next its identical twin at the Town Center. There is no San Marco character to the current design renderings. The developer did NO community outreach for this project until they were forced to by the neighborhood’s vocal concerns. That’s either because they knew the majority of San Marco residents would be against this and they thought they could sneak it by under cover of the wanted Publix project OR they are so blinded by their own motivations that they didn’t realize this project would be a detriment to the neighborhood. Neither possibility reflects well on them.

There is NO community benefit to the Park Place project. They’re going to be charging $1,700/month for small 1 and 2 bedroom “luxury” apartments overlooking what will be the Publix dumpster area. Who would rent those when you can get a mortgage for less for a bungalow with more square footage nearby? Besides, there’s already plenty of apartments going up in San Marco. This out of town developer is looking to profit off the appeal of San Marco in a way that devalues current San Marco resident’s property values and will negatively impact all that live in San Marco (except of course those that stand to gain financially from being involved in this project.) For all those that are writing you in favor of this project, I would ask, how are they tied to this project? 

The appropriate residential project for this land would be townhomes, that would provide the appropriate transition from commercial to single family homes. But the out of town developer is only concerned with maximizing their profits at the expense of San Marco homeowners and residents. That’s their prerogative to attempt to do so as a business, but they shouldn’t be granted the zoning change they require to build this overly dense eyesore at the expense of San Marco as a whole. They can simply walk away from this project if an appropriately scaled development that fits within the current zoning doesn’t provide them with their desired profit margins. 

Katie McNeal

I wanted to express my support for the Park Place development. 

The addition of this type of dwelling in San Marco will be great for us in the long run; it’ll create more demand for better retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.

We are all concerned about setting precedents that would harm our community. I really hope that a responsible middle ground will be found. 

It’s clear that our community is growing, and I am excited to see this finally happening!

Graham Riley

I am a resident of San Marco that was born and raised in the area. I am also a business owner in the area and am excited and welcome the Park Place Development. The density will benefit the businesses in the square and the surrounding area. The residents of the proposed apartment development will have very little impact trip-wise as they will walk and bike more than drive into the square. The development will also provide added parking to San Marco.

Michael Schmidt

As a third-generation San Marco resident, local business owner and commercial property owner, I am opposed to the zoning reclassification currently under review for the property behind South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. I live on Alexandria Place and my neighborhood is directly adjacent to the planned Park Place development. This development and its proposed land-use changes are not in keeping the City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element Policy nor the San Marco Overlay across several key points that include density, height, and parking.

I feel very strongly that the developer should be required to work within the constraints of the property’s current zoning designation or walk away from the project. This property was given its current zoning for a reason – it’s meant to be transitional from single-family residences to general commercial along one of the main corridors leading into the heart of historic San Marco Square, and the proposed reclassification of this property to CGC-UPA seeks radical exceptions that obliterate any sort of reasonable transition of densities in an effort to maximize their profitability at the expense of the existing neighborhood and community-at-large.

Their calculations for density “borrow” the footprint of the sanctuary property to maximize the allowed number of units, they’ve asked for exceptions for setbacks and a reduction in green spaces that are not in keeping with San Marco by Design or the City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element Policy, and their height calculations seek to use a weighted averaging method typically reserved for communities with hilly and/or mountainous terrain as a subversive way to get around the 35’ maximum allowed height. 

Additionally, while they continue to tout the benefit of public parking on the bottom floor of their planned garage, they’re also asking for a concession within the PUD that would only require them to provide approx. 1.3 spaces per unit instead of 1.7. Even with the recently proposed reduction of 10 units and removal of one level of the garage, that many households, even the young professionals who they claim are their target audience, are two-car households, and it’s very likely that any “additional” parking slated for public use, will actually be snatched up by the residents themselves, along with any of the friends, family, etc. who visit them. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that 100 of those spaces are meant to be allocated to the church for use as well. Furthermore, their original calculations for spaces included on-street parking in order to make up the requisite number of spaces in an area where on-street parking is already limited due to use by the existing neighborhood and businesses.

If allowed, the Park Place development will become the tallest building in historic San Marco, towering over the adjacent single-family homes and serving as a perpetual reminder that we as a community allowed an outsider to profit from the devaluation of the character and charm of an area that we’ve long worked together to protect. 

San Marco is a vibrant collective of residents, business owners, families and professionals who are passionate about our community. That doesn’t mean we’re against new developments or modernization – we believe change and growth are good when done right. However, those changes need to be planned carefully with consideration to how they will weather over time and affect existing landmarks, residences, and green spaces. Our community was built to last – as evidenced by our many historic homes and green spaces – and any new developments need to be planned with longevity and sustainability for the community in mind, not just short-term profitability.

I’m concerned that much of what I and others love about San Marco is threatened by this proposed development in its current iteration and that it will also set a precedent for future projects, not only for San Marco but for Jacksonville as a whole.

Aliera Peterson

Unfortunately, those that are against things tend to be more vocal than the supportive. Thus, I am sending this email in support of this development as I really appreciate your community newspaper.

While I love living in San Marco, I find it lacking in diversity and acceptance of change. At some point we have to stop embracing an auto-centric lifestyle and encourage a more sustainable one. This development, which is laughably being referred to as high density, is at least a baby step in the right direction. Hopefully, these new residents will serve as examples of living a truly walkable lifestyle to our many residents that pay lip service to the idea while driving by me while I walk to local establishments. It seems that traffic caused by others is an issue but never their own.

I look forward to a more vibrant San Marco Square and hopefully fewer empty storefronts. I understand people being concerned about design aspects of the project, but it seems to me the developers have done an admirable job with the impossible task of trying to please everyone. We shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Matt Slayton

As a member of South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, I support the current plans for the Park Place development.  They have worked hard with us to develop an upscale, nice complex.  Our church had no choice but to sell.  We hope we will survive the construction.  The neighbors need to realize that a horrible development could be put there. If we sold the whole property after getting a historical designation, they could turn the church into a restaurant/bar or something worse.  The exterior is the only thing that needs to stay the same. Our current plan is to keep a smaller property as the church in the middle of this development and next door to Mathews.  We will lose the preschool that has been there for over 60 years. However, we hope it will continue as San Marco Preschool at the Baptist church.  I support the current plans for Park Place.

Ellen Leigh

I wanted to share my confusion on the vocal minority who are resistant to the Park Place development in San Marco. I think it is an effective re-use of a property that could very well sit vacant and unused like East San Marco has for the better part of a decade. Experienced developers who care about our city (and specifically San Marco) want to be a part of the positive growth and transformation of that area, yet some are attempting to halt the progress through fear and misinformation. From what I have read, the developers have been very open to community feedback, and it seems like the resistance would prefer to kill the project rather than have it improved to the point of acceptability. To my knowledge there has been little to no resistance to other projects in the area such as San Marco Promenade, San Marco Crossing, or The District which would all impact resident density and traffic in the same way, if not more. If we want to stop the flood of residents to St. Johns, Nassau, and Clay County then we need to continue to develop more residential housing options throughout Jacksonville and especially near the city center of Downtown, for which San Marco is one of the prime adjacent neighborhoods.

Thomas Lee

When the community comes together, great things can happen. In this case, San Marco Preservation Society and Right Size San Marco group both agree that the proposed Park Place development shouldn’t be built as proposed. From the calculation in height that somehow determined 50 feet equals 35 feet, to thinking that transition means low density straight to high density, or that no one would notice that zoning code says deviations for parking are only to be allowed if asking for no other deviations, this proposed development is asking San Marco to ignore all its faults. Because hey, we could be offered a lot worse! 

However, that’s not true. Current zoning doesn’t actually allow “terrible things” to go in the lot. There are 21 permitted uses for “CRO,” and they are all perfectly acceptable and fit the area. Well, maybe not a fraternity house, but I’m willing to take my chances.

San Marco is a desirable area and this is a desirable location. It’s not acceptable in a dating relationship to be told “Hey I don’t do the bare minimum, but it could be a lot worse” and it’s not acceptable here. There is an opportunity for the developers to take this project and make it great. For the church, for the community, and for the developers. San Marco, let’s know our worth and stay strong. 

Liz Foraker Klein

We just wanted to take a moment to speak in favor of the Park Place development planned for a portion of the South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church property in San Marco. 

A few important points are that in order for the church to remain viable – it must dispose of unused portions of the property and turn those liabilities into assets. And it is our understanding that the developer has made several concessions in order to comply with the San Marco overlay and appease those that are against the project.  

Greg & Virginia McMillan

I’m writing to state that I APPROVE  items 2019-0750/0751. I think this development will be an excellent addition to the community! 

Maureen Bush

I wanted to take a moment to express my support for the Park Place project in San Marco. From what I can tell the developer is a making great strides to work with the San Marco Preservation Society, and it will be a great asset in the area.

Mark Poole

My name is Sarah, and I am a senior manager for the My Neighborhood Storage Center brand in Jacksonville. Last year we opened our very first site in Jacksonville, and we have received so much support for the local neighborhoods, San Marco, St. Nicholas, etc.

I want to show my support personally for the new Park Place project. It will bring so much life to that corner. My hope and prayer are that Park Place comes to fruition without any complications.

Sarah Canzius

My name is Matt Namey, and I’m writing with what is hopefully an appreciated point of view on the growth occurring in San Marco.

As a lifelong resident of Jacksonville who was raised in the (once very rural) area of Northwest St. Johns County, I’m no stranger to reckless and irresponsible residential development. The roads around my childhood home are clogged with cars from the unregulated growth in my old corner of the area.

But I don’t believe the growth I’ve been following closely in San Marco even remotely approach reckless and irresponsible growth. In fact, to me it is quite the opposite. We need it.

We’re at an inflection point for the city at-large and thanks to the influx of new citizens and a great economy we finally have an opportunity to reinvigorate all of the neighboring communities to the urban core. Having attended the planning meeting for the property. I was impressed by the care and concern of the developer and architects to preserving the character of San Marco. The project is exactly the kind of growth that we need in our historic neighborhoods: a lower density multifamily component that provides starter homes for the future owners of the beautiful single-family homes in the neighborhood. And unlike what my parents have seen in NW St Johns County, this project is being built near a future grocery store and within walking distance of the main attractions. To the blunt., I can’t picture residents attempting to drive into the Square or down Hendricks to get downtown with the Atlantic on-ramp equally convenient. 

Finally, I want to point to an example in my current neighborhood as a warning for what could occur if we continue to fight development out of fear of change. I live in Avondale and have watched the stagnation of our commercial strip closely over the past years. Without the influx of smart multifamily development (like we’ve thankfully begun in RiverVue … although that is much larger than Park Place), I fear that the cycle of small businesses coming and going (or barely hanging on) will continue in Avondale in perpetuity.

San Marco Square holds a special place in my heart, and I want to see a sense of permanence for all the merchants. Continued growth is the only way to achieve this, growth that preserves the historical neighborhoods and is minimally intrusive.

Matt Namey

Does a win-win situation exist for the proposed Park Place at San Marco development? Both Right Size San Marco and the San Marco Preservation Society think so. Here’s what a compromise that benefits everyone looks like:

Currently, Alabama’s Harbert Realty desires to build a four-story, 133 apartment building, and a three-level, two-story parking garage. The developer also wishes to change the land use of the property as well as switch the zoning to a Planned Unit Development.

Let’s give the developer the ability to build a three-story, 114-apartment building, and a three-level, two-story parking garage which only sacrifices 19 units. San Marco would still get higher density with 114 apartments on less than 3 acres without a land use change!

To achieve this Win-Win, the city council needs only to keep the land use the same. By continuing to be classified as Urban, everyone benefits.

Here’s how everyone wins.

The Developer – They went to the church seeking 100 apartments in exchange for over $2 million. They also gave the church an option of making $20,000 for every apartment over 100. Keeping the land use the same allows them to get an extra 14 apartments over their initial ask.

The Church – With this deal, the church gets over $2 million, plus an additional $280,000 for the apartment incentive given by the developer. On top of that, they get a brand-new parking garage!

All City Council Districts of Duval County – The developer is proposing a new way to calculate height so they can go over the 35′ max limit set by the San Marco Overlay. According to the city’s planning department, this method has not been previously used to calculate the height of buildings. This “weighted average height” calculation would set a dangerous precedent for all districts and would impact every property in Duval county. By rejecting this newfangled height calculation, the building would stay 35′, as it should, instead of 49.5′, reducing the 4-story building to a 3-story. It would also preserve all overlays and zoning rules for the entire city and avoid opening Pandora’s Box.

The San Marco Preservation Society – By following the rules previously set forth by the San Marco Overlay– a document that many in the organization help build–SMPS would be able to protect future developments.

The Neighborhood – A lower building height and slightly lower density would allow for a better transition from single-family homes to Urban land use, be more palatable to the community, and more closely maintain the character of the historic area.

San Marco Merchants – They would still achieve the desired density for shops and restaurants while also receiving additional overflow public parking freed up by fewer renters.

Let’s get it right and make this a win for all.

Jon Livingston

I would like to voice my support for the Park Place project in San Marco! 

Gail Benedicto

I wanted to send a brief note in support of the proposed Park Place development project in San Marco.  I am a San Marco resident and love the walkability and livability of our community.  As we add people and businesses to our neighborhood, I think it is important to keep in mind that our aim is not to establish an exclusive enclave for the wealthy.  In the partnership envisioned by South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, the developer, the planning department, and members of the community the aim is to promote the common good for people living, working and loving this area.  We all agree that the details for growth and development are important for any new development.  

As it stands now:

  • The number of residential units in the project has decreased from 143 to 133.
  • The residential units on Mitchell Avenue have been eliminated.
  • The height of the parking garage has decreased from three decks to two (from 40 feet to 26 feet, 10 inches).
  • The setbacks of the parking garage on the Mango and Mitchell sides have increased.
  • The setbacks of the apartment building on the Alford and Mango sides have increased.
  • The architecture and appearance of the façade of the apartment building has changed. 
  • Increased area for landscaping is being addressed.

People of good faith are listening and working to make the Park Place at San Marco apartment project something we can all be proud of as the neighborhood builds on our foundations and enhances our future.  

Chris Lieberman

I’m writing to voice my support for the Park Place Development Project. I understand and have personally witnessed lots of concern and discussion about this project, particularly from Right Size San Marco. I am representing what many would consider to be the “millennial” perspective, but also come from a very loyal position to the San Marco community. I have lived in this beautiful area for all of my 29 years, and have more than enjoyed the charm, history, gorgeous running routes in the quiet neighborhoods, and walkability to shops and restaurants. I currently work in San Marco Square and am also a member of South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. I very much value the proximity to these two important places in my life and wish to see this area thrive for future generations. 

What I believe is important to note is that the church will pursue selling opportunities regardless of whether it is with this developer or someone else. South Jacksonville Presbyterian church has put a lot of consideration into both preserving the nature of San Marco and moving with the times. I would prefer to trust this project, which respects and considers the historical charm and future plan, to economically thrive in this unique area. I believe the additional parking will favorably serve the merchants of the Square and will help prevent parking issues that we have experienced in other popular gems like Riverside and Avondale. Speaking on behalf of the project, I am excited for the possibilities that Park Place Development brings. As a loyal San Marco native, I hope my voice will be considered in the outcome of this project.  

Amanda Ranney

I am a current member of SJPC and would like to support the updated project going forward. The community has gotten a chance to provide feedback that has been listened to and measures have been taken to make an attempt to appease all.

Hopefully, this project can now move forward with awareness that it will enhance our community and move towards walkability in our neighborhood.

Cathy Wilder Sharp

I’m writing to ensure that you are aware that a large number of residents in the 32207 zip code fully support the Park Place development at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, and I am one of them.

Without hesitation this is a win-win for everyone.  The potential residents are a perfect complement to our neighborhood, and the building will nicely blend into the community.  I have yet to hear any reasonable reason as to why this shouldn’t be built, other than a simple “I don’t like it.”

The church is selling the property for a reason.  They have every intent of staying in the community, but as a much smaller congregation than they were back in the 70’s or 80’s.  This is really no different than what First Baptist is dealing with downtown as well as many churches throughout the country.  Larger churches are more in the suburbs now and that is a trend that can’t be changed.  If this isn’t approved, what do you think will take its place?  That would likely put pressure on the Church to sell the entire property and then what would we be left with?

Taking the sure thing is the smart thing to do.  When this is completed along with the new Publix, we will have new neighbors and a vibrant San Marco.

Frank Wood

As a resident of Jacksonville and having worked in the city for over 20 years, I support this project.

It provides a great transition from single family to multifamily to commercial retail.  Every urban hub has a transition point.  The location is ideal and will support the millennial growth of the work force.  It will also enhance retail in San Marco.  Please consider this a letter of support for the project.

Mark Middlebrook

I am a resident of San Marco as well as a member of South JAX Preys.  I support the sale of our property.  The sale is necessary for South JAX to continue to do God’s work in our area.  I have heard the concerns of the Right Size group and have been so impressed with the developer’s response in modifying the original plans.  I will be delighted to arrange a meeting to answer any questions you may have.

Jill Campbell

I would like to voice my support for the Park Place development. 

Autumn Zimpfer

I am submitting this email to voice support for the Park Place development in San Marco. In spite of the recent concessions made by the developer, the opposition continues to move forward with their campaign against this project.

This project is in the best interest of the majority and is right for San Marco. It is a positive step in the right direction for both the residents and the commercial district of San Marco.

Deborah Muth

I am totally against Right Size’s campaign. It is foolish, against the community’s best interest, and meant to serve the purposes of a very few, may I say selfish individuals.

Ron Lindsey

I am in support of the Park Place project.

Melinda Ranney

I wanted to write that my husband and I are in favor of the intended Park Place development. We live in the neighborhood and think having new residents in the area will contribute to the success of the community. We want San Marco to thrive.

Chelsea White 

I’d like to express my support for the Park Place at San Marco project. The Park Place development should be considered a welcomed addition to the San Marco area, as parts of it have started to become rundown and growth is simply the sign of a flourishing city. Thank you!

Nicci Dillon

I am submitting this email to voice support for the Park Place development in San Marco.

In spite of recent concessions by the developer, the opposition continues to move forward with their campaign against this project.

This project is in the best interest of the majority and is right for San Marco.

It is a positive step in the right direction for both the residents and the commercial district of San Marco.

Deborah Roberts


I would like to register my support for the Park Place development in San Marco (2019-0750 and 2019-0751).  As an elder at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, I know how long and hard the Church leadership has worked to find a use for our excess property that would be in the best interest of the Church, the neighborhood and all of San Marco.  We selected this developer’s plan because it was in-line with our goals.  Harbert has demonstrated its willingness to listen to the Church and the community and to make requested adjustments. I expect them to continue to do so where they can.  However, the plan must be financially viable for them to be able to proceed. I support the development and hope that you will too.

Sherrill Dewberry
South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church Elder

I am a resident of San Marco and long-time member of South Jax Presbyterian Church. I understand that many neighbors have strong feelings about the project, but I urge you to be balanced in your coverage of the story. SJPC has been in San Marco for over a hundred years but does not have to very large congregation that it once had. The church at this time cannot afford to maintain the large physical structure that church now owns. If we do not downsize, the church will be forced to leave or possibly disband. The present project is a way, and the best way the church can maintain parking places for our members and obtain the funds to maintain a nucleus church and this beautiful structure. The Trustees of the Church looked at many other ways to do this and this was the best solution.

Would the Right Size San Marco group been opposed to the Publix/San Marco East project, which is next door and would have been an even larger project?

The present developers have listened to many concerns and have made may concessions, fewer units, redesigning the exterior of the building, etc.

The type of residents this development would attract would be a boon to the merchants and restaurants of San Marco. Besides it would provide 70 parking spaces for customers of the San Marco area.

I just ask you to hear both sides of the story. If this project does not go through, it may be the end of SJPC, and as the land is now zoned, something much larger and less attractive might come in its place.

Jim Campbell

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)