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Do You Care About Jacksonville's Future?

Metro Jacksonville has been a supporter and advocate of the award-winning 2030 Mobility Plan and Fee because of its ability to transform Jacksonville into a fiscal and multimodal friendly community. However, the City Council is considering a bill that could lead to the mobility fee being utilized to fund the unsustainable development pattern that the 2030 Mobility Plan was intended to alleviate.

Published March 28, 2014 in Transit      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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The 2030 Mobility Plan was instituted in 2011 as a land-use and transportation strategy to support a variety of transportation modes, reduce vehicle miles traveled, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote compact and interconnected land development and improve the health and quality of life for Jacksonville residents.

In a nutshell, the plan incentivizes new development projects that utilize existing infrastructure in denser, urban areas by requiring lower mobility fees in those areas than in suburban and rural areas. Assessed mobility fees fund roadway, pedestrian, bicycle and transit improvement projects to address mobility gaps and deficiencies. Specifically, the plan takes into account transit accessibility and connectivity, pedestrian-friendly urban design, mixed-used development and land-use density.


Between 2005-2009, Charlotte, NC witnessed 9.8 million square feet of new development built along the 9.6 Blue Line (light rail transit), representing a total of $1.8 billion in private development.  That kind of economic development, which hasn't been seen in Jacksonville's Northside and Urban Core in over 60 years, is something the 2030 Mobility Plan's transit projects are anticipated to help stimulate locally.

In 2011, shortly after the mobility fee was implemented, City Council enacted a moratorium—as many cities did—to spur development in the face of the challenging economy. With little proof that the moratorium achieved the full, desired effect, City Council allowed the moratorium to sunset in October 2012.

In early 2013, those financially benefiting from the city's fiscally unsustainable development pattern lobbied for an additional three year moratorium. After significant community opposition, the City Council settled on 18 months of reduced mobility fees as a compromise.

Less than a year after that compromise, those financially benefiting at the public's expense, by externalizing their development costs, are back at City Hall, searching for ways to further manipulate the plan and Jacksonville's future to their personal benefit.

A bill (2013-761) currently being considered by the Jacksonville City Council could devastate the purpose behind the Mobility Plan and convert the only funding mechanism Jacksonville currently has in place to become a more multi-modal friendly and fiscally efficient city, into one that promotes additional unsustainable sprawl.


The 2030 Mobility Plan was intended to resolve future roadway congestion while also encouraging economic development in areas where sufficient public infrastructure already exists. One project that would be funded by the Mobility Fee is the addition of sidewalks and a pedestrian overpass in the Arlington Expressway corridor.


About Bill 2013-761

Bill Type and Number: Ordinance 2013-761

Introducer/Sponsor(s): Council Member Bishop

Date of Introduction: November 26, 2013

Committee(s) of Reference: TEU, LUZ

Date of Analysis: November 28, 2013

Type of Action: Ordinance Code amendment
 
Bill Summary:

The bill amends Ordinance Code Chapter 655 – Concurrency and Mobility Management Fee – to permit a developer to obtain credit toward a mobility fee liability for complete construction and dedication of a transportation project not listed in the 2030 Mobility Plan, provided the project meets all applicable standards and is approved by the City Council. The amendment also explicitly provides that credit for donation of right-of-way for a transportation project may be transferred from the landowner who made the donation to other landowners or developers for payment of mobility fees owed on other projects within the same mobility zone as the zone in which the donation is made. The amendment also clarifies that in order to receive mobility fee credit for a privately constructed improvement, the improvement must be dedicated to the City.

Background Information:

The mobility fee system enacted by the City in 2011 to replace the former “fair share” system of private developer contributions to road construction and improvement provides that a private developer may only receive credit toward a mobility fee calculation for construction of a transportation improvement if that improvement is already listed on the City’s adopted 2030 Mobility Plan.  This bill provides that transportation projects that are not listed on the Mobility Plan, but which nevertheless help to increase overall mobility efficiency within a mobility zone, as demonstrated by professionally accepted standards and criteria, may be used to obtain mobility fee credit upon approval by the City Council.  The amendments regarding mobility fee credit for right-of-way donation being transferrable from one landowner or developer to another within a mobility zone and the requirement that an improvement be dedicated to the City are clarifications of existing practices that are not explicitly stated in the Code.
 
Policy Impact Area: Mobility fee system administration

Fiscal Impact: Undetermined

Analyst: Clements

source: City Council Research Division


The primary reason behind the push for the latest change is a pending construction of a road to serve a major new development straddling State Road 9B and Interstate 295 East Beltway.  Construction is already underway on a new interchange with State Road 9B at the "Cross Road" overpass.




What It Means

Approval of Bill 2013-761 as written could undermine the entire 2030 Mobility Plan and kill the "game changing" infrastructure projects the Mobility Fee has been set up to fund. Bill 2013-761 would allow a suburban developer to use their share of mobility funds to pay for infrastructure on their property that they'd have to invest in anyway.  In a situation where their infrastructure costs would exceed their mobility fee, the bill would allow the developer to sell the differing amount to other developers (thus multiple projects could shift their mobility fees from designated Mobility Plan priority projects.




What You Can Do

Despite the importance of the 2030 Mobility Plan and its impact on Jacksonville's future, the council has only heard from the development and bicycle/pedestrian community. We ask that those who are interested in Jacksonville becoming a more sustainable, healthy, environmentally respectful and multimodal friendly community, let your City Council members know your position.


2030 Mobility Plan priority roadway projects would be "context sensitive" and "multi-modal friendly" in design, such as this recent Kings Road pedestrian enhancement project on the campus of Edward Waters College.

Thank you for your time and consideration.







16 Comments

Bridges

March 28, 2014, 08:03:25 AM
Thanks for keeping this at the forefront.  Implemented properly, it will overtime change the mentality of how we think about our city.  We're fighting the old Jacksonville.  In the past the old Jacksonville has won the majority of the big battles.  Time to move forward with the new Jacksonville. 

I put all the emails in a copy paste format so that you can email them all with ease.  Be courteous in your email. 

Clay@coj.net, WBishop@coj.net, RClark@coj.net, Redman@coj.net, LBoyer@coj.net, MattS@coj.net, Gaffney@coj.net, EDLee@coj.net, WAJones@coj.net, RBrown@coj.net, Holt@coj.net, doylec@coj.net, Gulliford@coj.net, JimLove@coj.net, KimDaniels@coj.net, JRC@coj.net, Joost@coj.net, GAnderson@coj.net, RLumb@coj.net

It also helps to contact several of the council members with specifics about projects. 

CG7

March 28, 2014, 08:21:06 AM
I just sent my first of many emails. Thanks for staying in the forefront on this issue.

strider

March 28, 2014, 08:26:16 AM
Quote
About Bill 2013-761

Bill Type and Number: Ordinance 2013-761

Introducer/Sponsor(s): Council Member Bishop

Date of Introduction: November 26, 2013

Committee(s) of Reference: TEU, LUZ

Date of Analysis: November 28, 2013

Type of Action: Ordinance Code amendment

One fact that I think is very important for all to know is that this ordinance was not initially written by this city nor it's legal department.  It was written by Paul Harden, who was of course hired by the people who will benefit by the gutting of the Mobility Fee.

Quote
Form Approved:

__/s/ Paige Hobbs Johnston
Office of General Counsel
Legislation Prepared By:   Paul M. Harden

That alone should bring the entire idea into question.  That alone should make us wonder who Mr Bishop is really working for.

Even past all that, the basic idea that we need to be giving the developers the farm is ludicrous.  How do they make their money?  Do you really believe that they will not develop that land if they do not get this law passed?  Or does it make more sense that they have already figured out they can make a profit even paying the highest level of fees and infrastructure cost and are now simply trying to maximize those profits?

Noone

March 28, 2014, 08:27:52 AM
Bill Bishop is now running for Mayor.

Bridges

March 28, 2014, 08:29:23 AM
Bill Bishop is now running for Mayor.

That answers the question of why he would introduce this.  Going to need that backing for his run. 

thelakelander

March 28, 2014, 08:32:05 AM
When did Bishop announce that he's running for Mayor?

Even past all that, the basic idea that we need to be giving the developers the farm is ludicrous.  How do they make their money?  Do you really believe that they will not develop that land if they do not get this law passed?  Or does it make more sense that they have already figured out they can make a profit even paying the highest level of fees and infrastructure cost and are now simply trying to maximize those profits?

In the case of the SR 9B development, the interchange to this property is already under construction. I seriously doubt that FDOT is paying for it, so I suspect that's private money being used.

thelakelander

March 28, 2014, 08:33:08 AM
Regarding Bishop, never mind.

Noone

March 28, 2014, 08:38:26 AM
Didn't realize that Paul Hardin wrote the legislation.

strider

March 28, 2014, 08:39:02 AM
Right after I posted on this thread, Google decided I needed to see ads for OTHER cities (like Portland) and to travel.  Does Google know how bad people like Bishop and Harden are making Jacksonville?

tufsu1

March 28, 2014, 09:06:03 AM
Notwithstanding this bill, I was not aware that Bill Bishop was a bad person

jcjohnpaint

March 28, 2014, 10:19:37 AM
Interesting talk related to the situation

http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim

TD*

March 28, 2014, 01:25:05 PM
I am fully in support of the mobility fee. Back last year when I reviewed the Jax comp plan for grad school I made note of the mobility fee. It's sad to see that Jax leadership only is interested in expanding its tax base through suburban and exurban development. If Jax could implement light rail or commuter rail it would tie together the city and create many tod opportunities.

Bridges

March 28, 2014, 01:30:30 PM
It's sad to see that Jax leadership only is interested in expanding its tax base through suburban and exurban development.

That's a losing game.  Even more so for a city that is so adverse to raising taxes. 

IrvAdams

March 28, 2014, 01:45:55 PM
I think our leadership is being guided by other forces into making these decisions, I don't believe they've thought through all the consequences. Education and information are the key. I refuse to believe it is an unstoppable urban spiral.

IrvAdams

March 28, 2014, 01:47:56 PM
I think our leadership is being guided by other forces into making these decisions, I don't believe they've thought through all the consequences. Education and information are the key. I refuse to believe it is an unstoppable urban spiral.

Sorry, make that a 'suburban' spiral.

strider

March 28, 2014, 05:08:16 PM
Notwithstanding this bill, I was not aware that Bill Bishop was a bad person

It was how bad "they" are making Jacksonville, not stating that Mr Bishop is necessarily a totally bad person. Just selling his soul to try to get elected perhaps...



Edited to correct the sole (soul) though he could be selling that one too!
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