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Business Brief: Plan To Tackle Arlington Blight Through Zoning Nears Finish Line

Jacksonville Daily Record
Arlington Flowers is within the Renew Arlington Zoning Overlay. Businesses could receive city money to add landscaping required by the zoning changes.

A two-year push by some Arlington commercial property owners to cushion the financial impact of zoning code changes could be settled before March.

The Arlington Community Redevelopment Agency board gave final approval for a compliance grant program in January that will reimburse commercial property owners in the Renew Arlington Zoning Overlay for the cost to bring their businesses into minimum compliance, according to WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

City Council approved updated zoning in June to combat blight in Arlington and create uniformity in building codes to attract development.

Arlington is one of the city’s earliest suburbs. It developed in the 1950s after the Mathews Bridge opened over the St. Johns River from Downtown.

Three major business corridors will be affected by the overlay changes: University Boulevard from the Arlington Expressway to Fort Caroline Road; Merrill Road from University Boulevard to Interstate 295; and a section of Arlington Road from University Boulevard to Rogero Road.

District 1 Council member Joyce Morgan, who represents Arlington, wants to make other adjustments to the zoning changes.

On Dec. 11, she introduced Ordinance 2019-0879, a revision to the overlay changes, and a substitute bill Feb. 11.

The legislation addresses what property owners in the overlay have argued is a problem since final details were released in May. Compliance improvements on many properties would trigger a 10-set review by the city. 

Under the existing building code, if a commercial property undergoes a major renovation greater than or equal to 50% of its assessed value, the buildings on the property would be subject to compliance regulations. 

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