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Resiliency Committee Asked To Consider Using Vacant Lots To Help Combat Flooding

Ken Knight Drive is flooded during Hurricane Irma on Sept. 11, 2017.

Jacksonville’s Resiliency Committee is being urged to consider turning empty lots and unused properties into green space to protect the city from flooding.

During Wednesday’s meeting, University of North Florida student Evan Maslin proposed what he’s calling a city wide “side lot” program.

“It's purchasing either vacant, derelict, or otherwise underutilized properties around the city, and then reallocating them to adjacent residential owners to keep as green lots,” Maslin said.

He said there are between 2,000 and 2,500 of these so called “zombie” lots throughout Jacksonville, many of them already owned by the city, that could be used for flood control.

Maslin said green infrastructure also supports biodiversity and animal habitat growth, helps reduce carbon emissions, provides energy savings, increases home values, improves public health, and could even help reduce violent crime.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.