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Author Topic: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams  (Read 4513 times)

Steve_Lovett

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2013, 03:50:18 PM »
^this.

Congratulations on the Cultural Council Board Appointment, btw, Steve.

Thanks, Stephen.

There's a remarkably strong undercurrent of creatives and the arts in the community and it's crucial that our policies allow it to rise to the surface such that it's recognized and cultivated as an integral part of the DNA of Jacksonville's entire community. I'm looking forward to my service on the Cultural Council Board.

Steve_Lovett

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2013, 04:14:58 PM »
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

Unfortunately not at my fingertips, I'm focused on some other things today.

The DRI is a matter of public record and can speak to the particulars better than any of us can from memory. There is a component of the plan that contemplates St Johns County schools and there are school sites quantified and/or identified, but I can't remember the exact locations or number.

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.


Ocklawaha

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2013, 05:23:52 PM »



Weedmans, Orangedale's (Rivertown's) best kept secret.

Actually Rivertown is exactly 1.6 miles from Weedmans Supermarket in Orangedale, granted its not Publix, but it is every bit of a small full line grocery. BTW, Weedmans has an excellent meat market, and many of their prepared foods are shipped out to area C-Stores. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weedmans-Grocery/119111008140806 Orangedale also has a Sawmill, C-Store w/gas, public pier, Tackle Shop, Pub, and Antique Store. So it's not nearly as remote as one might think, Also Green Cove Springs is within 8 miles of either WGV or Rivertown. 

As for the plan:






CityLife

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2013, 05:28:38 PM »
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.

What are the specific positives to the plans that have been added since the project was originally planned? I do know that one of the developments (RiverTown Lakes) has removed rear alleys, on street parking, and a connection to another residential area from the original plans in order to add larger, and more traditionally suburban lots. Of course that is likely due to market conditions, but some may say that is a negative change.

Nocatee was originally intended and approved to be much more of a new urbanist style community, particularly where the Publix (Town Center) is now with gridded street, alleyways, and connectivity between neighborhoods. It also has significant preserve space, trails, recreation, and open space. However, due to market conditions the developers significantly modified the plans and it has become a hodge podge of suburban subdivisions.  Will RiverTown avoid that route and stay truer to some of the original TND concepts?

For the record, while it may have seemed I was being critical of RiverTown earlier. I was merely pointing out that the article was a little fluffy. RiverTown has a lot of long term potential, it just seems to be behind Nocatee and some other SJC developments in demand right now.

 

Ocklawaha

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #49 on: January 08, 2013, 05:33:03 PM »
It would be very cool if one of these developers did something with the old Switzerland Naval Air Station. The community of Spruce Creek south and west of Daytona Beach recycled theirs into a fly in ranchette location.








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Steve_Lovett

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2013, 09:33:14 PM »
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.

What are the specific positives to the plans that have been added since the project was originally planned? I do know that one of the developments (RiverTown Lakes) has removed rear alleys, on street parking, and a connection to another residential area from the original plans in order to add larger, and more traditionally suburban lots. Of course that is likely due to market conditions, but some may say that is a negative change.

Nocatee was originally intended and approved to be much more of a new urbanist style community, particularly where the Publix (Town Center) is now with gridded street, alleyways, and connectivity between neighborhoods. It also has significant preserve space, trails, recreation, and open space. However, due to market conditions the developers significantly modified the plans and it has become a hodge podge of suburban subdivisions.  Will RiverTown avoid that route and stay truer to some of the original TND concepts?

For the record, while it may have seemed I was being critical of RiverTown earlier. I was merely pointing out that the article was a little fluffy. RiverTown has a lot of long term potential, it just seems to be behind Nocatee and some other SJC developments in demand right now.

Out of curiosity, how is a lot in RiverTown with on-street parking and an alley any more urban or connected than a conventional lot with a front facing garage? They're both 27 miles from the central city, right? The answer, it isn't.

For example, my house in Avondale had an alley. My neighbor across the street didn't. Mine was no more or less "new urbanist" (circa 1907) than my neighbors. We shared the same context. Same goes for RiverTown. It's all a suburban or rural context no matter how the concept of New Urbanism wants to hype it. 

The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

You asked about specific improvements. The pace of SR-13 has been slowed allowing safe pedestrian access to the river. The pedestrian connections between the Main Street District and Lakes District are stronger, with the elimination of roads and replacing them with pedestrian trails, and a stronger visual connection to the river has been created with the reconfiguration of the entry and alignment with Riverfront Park. And - we've created a killer playground at the community park, including a 13-foot tall "king of the hill mound". :-) There's nothing like that playground anywhere!

It's true that RiverTown is behind Nocatee and others. They all started development and sales 5-7 years ago. RiverTown has just re-launched (I hate that term) within the past year or so. 

cline

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #51 on: January 08, 2013, 10:02:04 PM »
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

ubben

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2013, 10:09:48 PM »
I love living in Avondale, but lets not pretend we have awesome sidewalks here. Well, some of us do. Then they abruptly stop. And start again across the street. Or disappear altogether and you have to walk in the road. Perhaps this is an issue We Love Avondale can tackle. Sidewalks for everyone! Let's put their energy to some good use now that the Mellow Mushroom brouhaha is finally over.

Steve_Lovett

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2013, 10:34:09 PM »
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

My comments were directed at another post from someone other than you, in response to a specific question.

With respect to your comments, out of curiosity, which ecological systems were destroyed? I can't speak to anything about RiverTown prior to 2009, but the new plan improvements replaced hundreds of acres of bare dirt from the projects original clearing that increases runoff volumes, potential water quality/turbidity, soil erosion, etc.. It also includes landscape improvements that are beginning to restore a tree canopy that has value in processing carbon to oxygen, providing shade, and habitat. Waterfront improvements are designed to support the viability and regeneration of seagrass beds that create important Manatee habitat. Taken together, the ecological performance of the site has improved in the past 3-4 years.

You can argue that the property should've never been developed (and I may not disagree) but current land use policy doesn't support that at this time and that cake was baked many, many years ago as RiverTown has long since gone through the public approval process.

Development exists on all sides (North: Julington Creek Plantation, West: Green Cove Springs across the Shands Bridge, South: Heritage Landing/World Golf Village, and East: CR 210 corridor and Aberdeen/Durbin Crossing). Despite all that there is very hardly any public recreation or river access in the area.

In that context, creating a new public access to the river and riverfront park and making State Road 13 safer are positives for the people in St Johns County.

thelakelander

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2013, 11:01:11 PM »
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

fsquid

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #55 on: January 09, 2013, 02:56:35 PM »
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

I haven't found one.  I might jet down there this weekend and look around.  I'm interested in that park.

Tacachale

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #56 on: January 09, 2013, 04:25:52 PM »
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

My comments were directed at another post from someone other than you, in response to a specific question.

With respect to your comments, out of curiosity, which ecological systems were destroyed? I can't speak to anything about RiverTown prior to 2009, but the new plan improvements replaced hundreds of acres of bare dirt from the projects original clearing that increases runoff volumes, potential water quality/turbidity, soil erosion, etc.. It also includes landscape improvements that are beginning to restore a tree canopy that has value in processing carbon to oxygen, providing shade, and habitat. Waterfront improvements are designed to support the viability and regeneration of seagrass beds that create important Manatee habitat. Taken together, the ecological performance of the site has improved in the past 3-4 years.

You can argue that the property should've never been developed (and I may not disagree) but current land use policy doesn't support that at this time and that cake was baked many, many years ago as RiverTown has long since gone through the public approval process.

Development exists on all sides (North: Julington Creek Plantation, West: Green Cove Springs across the Shands Bridge, South: Heritage Landing/World Golf Village, and East: CR 210 corridor and Aberdeen/Durbin Crossing). Despite all that there is very hardly any public recreation or river access in the area.

In that context, creating a new public access to the river and riverfront park and making State Road 13 safer are positives for the people in St Johns County.

Cline, by and large I agree with you, but I think your view here may be overly cynical. Whether or not there ever should have been a River Town development to begin with, we ended up with it anyway. It looks to me that the River Town of 2013 looks a lot better than the River Town we were on track to get. I think that counts for something.
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Steve_Lovett

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2013, 07:10:44 PM »
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

The working Master Plan is still the county-approved document that describes the framework of the overall project, showing major circulation, access points, wetlands, etc. Too often these types of large development projects have overly-prescribed master plans that don't allow them to adapt to changing market conditions or superior planning ideas that evolve over time.

 

NWSJCNINI

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Re: RiverTown, Busting at the Seams
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2013, 08:54:43 AM »
While I agree that River Town is far from bursting at the seams they have started to build in there again. I don't agree that it is in the middle of nowhere. Have you been to the area in the last 20 years. There is a Publix about 5 or 6 miles north on SR 13. Granted as city folks who might be within walking distance of a grocery store we who don't live in a large city hardly consider that as being in the middle of nowhere. As far as that's concerned a vast part of Duval county could be considered the middle of nowhere. From what I've seem so far in River Town has been positive. They have created a beautiful park along the river. There are a lot of new roads in the NW area of St John's that will cut down on traffic on SR 13 and as far as anyone coming in and cutting down the beautiful oaks along 13 to widen it that can't be done. Thanks to I believe Governer Martinez it has been declared a historic highway named after William Bartram. I remember fighting years ago to save the oaks. As far as this area being developed on some aspects I hate to see it happen but I would still rather live out here "in the middle of nowhere" than live in Jacksonville anyday!!