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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After hours of debate and public comment Tuesday night, the City Council approved a change in the city’s land use plan but deferred the actual zoning change for a planned Pumpkin Hill development.
Developers want to build 97 homes on a 48-acre tract of land on Cedar Point Road surrounded by the Pumpkin Hill Preserve.
Dozens of area residents spoke out against the plan during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, saying it would create dangerous traffic conditions along the two-lane road. Others pointed out that the homes would be vulnerable to wildfires in the preserve.
One resident told News4JAX that if she wanted to be surrounded by such a vast amount of homes, she would have lived in the center of Jacksonville instead of the county.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper is opposed to the development and sent a letter to the council, arguing the construction of 97 homes will make the area more prone to flooding from Terrapin Creek. The Riverkeeper also said the project threatens the area’s water quality.
READ: St. Johns Riverkeeper letter to City Council opposing Pumpkin Hill development
Another woman said the new development would make accidents on the two-lane road even worse.
“We’ve had about 25 accidents in 20 years because this is on the curb. This is a racetrack. Everybody passes the slow guys right here and they lose control.. IF they do something with the road, it’s going to be worse,” she said.
The Jacksonville Waterways Commission also recommended against the development.
Following the debate and public comment, the council approved a change in the city’s land use plan on a vote of 10-8 with one abstaining. But the actual zoning change was deferred, pending a comprehensive traffic study and street layout changes in the development that could lead to fewer homes being built.
“We actually took the time to revisit it and to postpone it so that those citizens can get back with the applicant and hopefully come to a resolution in their neighborhood,” Council President Terrance Freeman said. “There were just a lot of questions and concerns that were brought up by the citizens and one of our council members, a district council person, just asked for a little more time.”
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