Jacksonville Beach, District 2
Community Newsletter
February 2021
Please share this newsletter with your friends and neighbors!
February... the month of love

A quick note...
It's hard to believe that it's February already! When I was a child and would complain that there was nothing to do a week into summer vacation, my dad would say that time will seem to pass by quicker the older I got. Well, as usual, he was right.

In this newsletter, I provide updates on what the Council has been doing, as well as updates on construction projects downtown, our parks, and of course Covid-19. Please note the pre-registration information for those of you who want to get the vaccine. The more people who sign up, the better our case is to have a vaccination site at the beach.

Let's look out for each other and be safe, be well.

- Georgette

If you are fortunate enough, like I am, please consider contributing to BEAM. While I have not been financially impacted by the pandemic like others, I understand that many of our neighbors have been. BEAM is a community-based organization serving low-income residents in Jacksonville’s beaches communities and relies heavily on community support to assist our neighbors in time of need.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.
Photo Credit: John Tesh
It's Time to Get to Work
In January Council met to discuss the paid parking program. We will continue to use the same vendor this coming year, and if you have already registered your license plate with the City within the last two years, you do not need to do so this year. In addition, the City is conducting a pilot program for those who live in Jax Beach, but drive a company vehicle, to register that vehicle to park free of charge. We will have the results in the Fall when the paid parking program concludes for the year. If you would like to register your car, you can do so online.

Council also approved a contract with CivicPlus to redesign the City's website to not only make sure that it is ADA compliant, but also to make it more user-friendly for residents, businesses, and visitors who are looking for information. In addition, it will include some mobile applications. Stay tuned for more updates in the months ahead.

Finally, we discussed the need for City regulation of businesses that rent micro-mobility devises (motorized scooters). The City put a temporary moratorium on these rentals due to safety concerns for our residents and visitors. At a separate meeting, there was a lengthy discussion of the information that was gathered by our City Attorney and City staff, as well as the current business owner who rents micro-mobility devices. Council identified the components that we would like to see in the ordinance and the City Attorney is in the process of drafting an ordinance that meets our expectations. These items include the time of operation, the number of micro-mobility devices and/or businesses that can operate in the City, the location of where they can operate, and parking/storage of these devices. This will come back to Council at the beginning of March.
Downtown Updates

As you may have heard, Margaritaville is now open! There is a restaurant in the hotel, the LandShark Bar and Grill, which features classic American beach food with a fresh coastal twist. There is also the LandShark Lookout where you and some friends can gather to enjoy drinks ocean-side while taking in the salty air.

Margaritaville also has 1,725 square feet of meeting space, with a maximum capacity of 118 people. Do you have any meetings that would benefit from a relaxing environment? Then click here for more information!
Jax Beach Town Center
(used to be Ruby Beach & Campeche Bay)
In 2019, Jax Beach Town Center, LLC purchased the Ruby Beach building, and then purchased the building that housed Campeche Bay in 2020. In late January 2021, demolition of the buildings started and is expected to be completed in approximately two weeks.

The project will be a mixed-use property with a restaurant with roof-top dining, offices, and retail.
Element Hotel

The Element Hotel, on the Southeast corner of Beach Blvd. and 3rd Street, is nearing completion, with an expected opening within 30-60 days.
Other Construction Projects

The City is awaiting the submission of building plans for both the Springhill Suites site (located where the Pier Cantina was) and what has been termed The Dolphin Depot Project site (across the street from Margaritaville). Both locations have been cleared. The same is true for the property behind the Pavilion.
Upcoming Meetings

In February, in addition to routine issues, Council will discuss the City's legislative priorities at the state level (the Florida Legislature is in session from March 2 - April 30). If you want to learn more about these topics, this month's Beaches Watch meeting on February 3 will have Scott Dudley, Director of Field Advocacy for the Florida League of Cities speaking about the 2021 Legislative priorities Protecting Home Rule (our ability to make our own decisions regarding topics like short term rentals). The meeting will be from 7:00-8:00 pm on Zoom.

Council will also be reviewing the process for appointments to our City boards. Finally, Council will start discussing a review of the City Charter to ensure it is aligned with our current and future needs.

There will also be two Council briefings in February, the 8th and the 22nd, both starting at 5:30. These meetings are currently taking place on Zoom, and can be watched live on the City's YouTube Channel. The purpose of the briefings is to allow Council members to discuss issues coming before them on future meeting agendas. On the 8th, we will be discussing the City's recent Park Assessment and developing a long-term plan for all of the City's parks and their seamless integration into the City's strategic plan.

Be Heard

There have been many changes in the operation and leadership of the City over the last two years. If you have an issue you think Council should discuss, please contact us, and not just your District Councilperson. The Mayor and the At-Large Council members were voted into office to represent you, too!

After you make contact with your Council members, each one will decide if he or she wants to discuss it with 1) the City Manager (many issues are handled this way. For example, a missed trash pick up); or 2) have it placed on the agenda for a Council Briefing to get feedback from other Council members.

At the Council Briefing, after a topic is discussed, Council provides direction to City staff on how to proceed. If a majority of Council Members do not agree that the topic should move forward, it does not move forward.

Due to Florida's strict Sunshine Laws, Council members cannot discuss any items that may come before us to vote on, or that are currently in front of us for a vote outside a publicly posted meeting, and this includes any item that you want Council to address that requires a vote. We cannot meet individually, email, make phone calls, or even text each other on topics that are or may come before us to vote on. This is why it is important for you to contact more than just your District Representative.

Below is our contact information:
Mayor, Chris Hoffman: choffman@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-1058
Fernando Meza, At-Large Seat 1: fmeza@jaxbchfl.net; 904-247-6102
Dan Janson, At-Large Seat 2: djanson@jaxbchfl.net; 904-247-6103
Chet Stokes, At-Large Seat 3: cstokes@jaxbchfl.net; 904-247-6217
Cory Nichols, District 1, Seat 4: cnichols@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-0304
Georgette Dumont, District 2, Seat 5: gdumont@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-1233
Sandy Golding, District 3, Seat 6: sgolding@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-0675

Please note you can call or text the Council members
at their city phone number.
Jacksonville Beach's YouTube Channel

Meetings are live-streamed and saved for future viewing.

City Council Meetings: 1st and 3rd Monday at 6 pm
City Council Briefings: 2nd and 4th Mondays at 5:30 pm
Planning Commission: 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7:00 pm
Board of Adjustments: 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 7:00 pm
Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA): 4th Monday at 5:00 pm

Jax Beach Online
Last year, Jax Beach hired our first communications manager, which has had a positive impact on the City's online presence. While there is still much more to do, below are the City's current official social media accounts:
Jax Beach now has its own newsletter! It's easy to sign up.
Items of Note
The State of Florida is currently in Phase 3 in its Covid-19 response, although there has been a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases. Stay up to date on the impact of Covid-19 in Florida at the
Covid-19 Vaccines
The state has launched an online registration site where people who qualify can pre-register for vaccination appointments. Click on the picture above or this link. Please note that if a lot of people use this link to sign up for a vaccine shot, the Beaches will have data to support our request to the Governor for a vaccination site at the Beach.
Small Islands

You may have heard recently about a series of islands that were being marketed for development in the Intracoastal Waterway. The Small Islands, as they were called, are located in the viewshed of Jacksonville Beach’s Cradle Creek Preserve, and can be seen from the Butler Boulevard Bridge. The Islands gained a lot of attention on social media, and the story was even picked up by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, who promoted the sale of the islands in a video that went viral. In response, over 3,000 people signed a petition to save the Small Islands.

As a result of the public outcry, North Florida Land Trust got in touch with the owner, who recognized the conservation value of the property and agreed to enter a contract to sell the Islands to NFLT. Now, North Florida Land Trust must raise $350,000 to purchase and preserve these islands to ensure they are never developed. If you want to be part of saving these islands, please consider donating.
St. Johns River Ferry

The St. Johns River Ferry will be out of service until approximately March 15, 2021, for improvements and upgrades. Click here for more information.
Huguenot Park
The residents who live in the neighborhood around Huguenot Park were very gracious in inviting me to attend and listen to their concerns about the City adding an 8th tennis court and a proposal to possibly move the basketball court. The Parks Department was also heavily involved in these meetings, and it was agreed that having a plan for how the residents want the park to be utilized and enhanced needs to be put forward prior to a large project.
This group of residents will be asking their neighbors and other stakeholders for input into a long-term plan, so please be on the lookout and participate in the planning process for your park.
Blue Zone
The Elected officials and community leaders joined a Webinar about how BlueZones can enhance communities and the health of those who live in them. This project is being spearheaded by Baptist Health and is in the assessment stage in NEFL. Learn more about BlueZones Jacksonville and/or watch the Activate Jacksonville Webinar!

The Jax Beach Pier
Construction on the Pier has been underway! The Florida Times-Union has written some interesting stories about the work:

The expected completion is in early 2022.
Together, we will make a difference.
Let's continue to work together to ensure that Jacksonville Beach remains one of the greatest places to call home! Reach out if you have any questions or concerns about what is happening in your neighborhood or City.
Cell phone: 904.486.6865