Building Height Limit Changes Upcoming For The Beaches???

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty BK 3030920

I've lived in the beaches area of Jacksonville, FL for the past 20+ years, and have seen the redevelopment of several areas, maximizing their locations and consumer friendliness. I have first hand witnessed some of these changes, and for the most part, they have been positive changes.

One of the items the voters of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach voted on a few years ago was a building height limit to keep the coastline looking like it did: not dotted with a myriad of high rise condos. It was really targeting residential, and defined several Central Business Districts.

Now, someone is proposing a modification of these building height limits, as they prevent businesses from coming and building at the Beaches - really?  We have new businesses coming in daily. They move into existing space, and convert it to their needs.  Not to mention, ahem: we have limited vacant land at any of the beaches! AND, parking is already tight, so any new projects, or modifications, will have to address parking issues.

Recent additions include:

  • Atlantic Beach: M Shack Restaurant & Royal Palm Villlage Wine, Boom Shaka Laka Food Shack (all existing construction)
  • Neptune Beach: Mario's Italian, Smashburger, Publix, Hurricane's Wings, Publix, TCBY (all new construction except for Mario's)
  • Jacksonville Beach: 33 (apparel store), Sway (restaurant/bar)

Additionally, in the works are a Denny's and The Metro Diner, both of which are moving into existing spaces.

All of the buildings these businesses moved into are currently conforming to the building height limits, so it was not an issue to them.

I'm in support of the voting population. Why can't we work with what we have, rather than go against the voting public? Or, how about proposing a variance for a specific project, rather than ANOTHER building height limit vote?

You can read the full article here


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Carol Zingone is a full service Broker Associate proudly affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty in Atlantic Beach, FL.  I help buyers and sellers locally, regionally, and internationally.  With hundreds of happy buyers and sellers over the course of my career, I'm thrilled to help first time buyers, military buyers, seniors, investors, 1031 exchange properties, short sales and REO's.  I have spent hours honing my expertise, including the designations of: Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), Loss Mitigation Certification (LMC) , Short Sales, Foreclosures, REO's, (SFR), and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).  I pride myself on providing excellent expertise to all buyers and sellers. Search the MLS via  for Jacksonville and area listings!



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Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Hey Carol-I am with you. You know there is some developer trying to get the varience so he can build a condo highrise and then it starts and the small quaintness disappears. keep what ya got!

Dec 03, 2011 12:16 AM #1
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Marco - Thanks. This, as you can tell, hit a button with me.  I spent about an hour confirming the most recent additions, and that they renovated exisiting space (which we got).....and yes, while some people love the high rise condos, I like my Town Center at Atlantic Beach/Neptune Beach!

Dec 03, 2011 12:31 AM #2
Ellen Dittman
Watson Realty Corp. - Middleburg, FL
#1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r

Carol, this is good information. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

Dec 03, 2011 01:28 AM #3
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Double edged sword...growth which creates jobs is run by math and not emotions..I am all for quaint, honme towness etc,  but it doesn't employ people. What to do? That is up to the locals..good post

Dec 03, 2011 02:04 AM #4
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Richie, not really a double edged sword in our area; we are primarily built out, with few if any vacant commercial parcels.  We have many small businesses including restaurants, etc that employ local residents.  The voters passed the building height limit, it was their choice.

Dec 03, 2011 03:15 AM #5
Pam Graham
All Real Estate Options - Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, Clay & St Johns Counties

I'm with you Carol, there's no reason to go back for another vote, the people already spoke. There are plenty of other opportunities without ruining the view of the coast.

Dec 03, 2011 03:18 AM #6
Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Carol - have to agree with Richie above. It's a double edged sword.... Let us know how it works out.

Dec 03, 2011 03:20 AM #7
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Pam - I agree, that's what lit me up when I saw this. If there are specific projects that need a higher limit, let's address that on a project by project basis. Case in point: prior Publix shopping center in AB. Needs total redevelopment, no doubt. Far enough away from Town Center, could have an exception, it could make sense. Not in CBD area though...


Robert & Lisa: I disagree, politely; I may post some pix later today to better illustrate what the area looks like, and the lack of vacant land; The closest area to you that resembles our Town Center is downtown Ridgewood, course, it has been a few years since I've been there...

Dec 03, 2011 03:37 AM #8
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Carol - If you are talking about the near the beech - you have to fight VERY hard.  This will destroy views for many, many people and developers will play very dirty.  We've had multiple issues with "height variances" and suddenly have 42-story condos in our downtown.  They were built at the end of the boom and now many remain unsold and the developer that crammed all these new regulations down everyone's throat may well go bankrupt.  It was costly in terms of INFRASTRUCTURE much of which the home owner ended up footing.  My property taxes have nearly tripled - but I have no direct benefit.  Feel free to go to my blog and look up the FASNY issue.  Yet ANOTHER developer want to  plunk a a 1200 student campus  private school (pre-school-high school) in a quiet residential neighborhood with ball fields and parking lots - lights new drainage and sewage and electric (all on the city dollar) and if they don't get what they want - they'll sue...

Municipalities have to look at their own bottom line.  There does need to be a balance between smart growth and anything goes.  All too often these days its "anything goes"because the very wealthy business people can outspend the municipality in court.  That scares the city council members into caving. Then once they cave the first time it opens the flood gates for more.


Dec 03, 2011 04:45 AM #9
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

Wow I hope that don't go through for your sake! If I lived in a area like this I would want to keep it picturesque! Is that not one of the reasons that you move to the beach in the first place. I would think it would be all about highest and best use. The highest and best use for a tourist area would be to keep it pretty for tourists and their tourist dollars. If the beach looks like downtown it would lose its appeal to this tourist! Just this South Dakota girl's thoughts!

Dec 03, 2011 05:56 AM #10
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

That's a never ending fight in our town. We have a 36 foot building height limit, and every few years there's an attempt to push it up to 50 or 60 feet.

Dec 03, 2011 06:20 AM #11
Mark Simoff

Hi Carol,

Good post, something to think about. What is your height restriction? Perhaps I missed it if you stated it already. Here in the Naples Beach area where I practice, we max out at 29 floors for our tower condos. Most range in the mid 20's.

I am a strong believer in private property rights as well as respect for the vote.  I don't appreciate the politicans bringing up new ballot initiatives over and over until they get the answer they like!

When we lived "up north" our community would put up school tax initiatives for the fall vote. If it failed they'd put it up again in the spring hoping it would pass.

Having said all that.  I wonder if the voting public is always in the know, understanding the highest and best use, having detailed information on economic impact etc. Sometimes their (and our) knowledge of development issues or projects is very limited, only to be considered a week or two before the election.  At best, knowledge and information seem to come from a series of 30 second ads which we know to be slanted to one's particular point of view. Leading many to vote on emotion.

If we elect local, city or county leaders to make these decisions, don't they have more time to study such issues? Do they have the benefit of receiving more detailed study of development issues, from planners, engineers etc? I don't know, I'm just asking. If nothing else, if we don't like the job they are doing, the voters can fire them. The beauty of representative government.


Dec 03, 2011 08:44 AM #12
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Ruthmarie: I didn't think White Plains had that much ROOM left for that kind of development (I'm a NJ girl!)....we have several high rise condos, and they affect so many things: wind, sun, etc. that smaller dwellings can feel downright trampled. Most of these are on the ocean, and do not abut smaller homes, but we voted in 35 feet a few years ago in Jacksonville Beach, and have had to settle with several developers...not fun at all.

Rosalie: The main focus of the blog post was really Atlantic Beach, and they have a handful of older condos that were built to 3-4 stores when they were developed. I agree, though, taller buildings don't seem to be that necessary close to the beach; it can make sense if the public agrees on oceanfront land. That is why Jacksonville Beach voted in the 35 foot limit a few years ago.

Tim: That just seems wrong on some level; at what point does the voting public go "Oh, heck, bring it up again, maybe I'll vote differently this time"????

Mark: Thanks for your comment; we have several newer high rise condos, not sure what their heights are, but we voted in 35 feet..and many of those condos are now snowbird owned, which the city loves, as they are not a constant drain on resources, but the taxes help fund the resources....a conundrum.  I agree, what is voter turnout? Up here maybe 30%, and of those, maybe 15% really know what the issues would think with greater access to more resources (ala the world wide web) we would be more educated, but apparently not.

Dec 03, 2011 09:34 AM #13
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Carol, great update.  Inland we don't think of those things but can appreciate if someone obstructs my view!

Dec 03, 2011 11:54 AM #14
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The island of Kauai has an interesting restriction on building heights. No building can be taller than a palm tree. Views are preserved and developers know the rules when they want to build something. No high rise buildings to obscure ocean views.

Dec 03, 2011 11:57 AM #15
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Bob - Thanks. It's an interesting dilemma, and reading that others have similar/same issues is refreshing if somewhat depressing.....I just believe that when the public votes on something, they (and I am referring to the voters who turn out, not just registered voters) vote for what they want. So, to propose a change within something like 5 years seems ridiculous to me....but that's me...

John- How tall are your palm trees??? I LOVE this idea! We probably do not have the same kind of palms....


Dec 03, 2011 01:24 PM #16
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Now Carol just think it's happening to the population on a daily basis.  Just think of our federal government and that will answer all you questions on representation without representation of the peoples wishes

Dec 03, 2011 11:12 PM #17
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Carol ....I'm with you on this one!  Congrats on the feature!

Dec 04, 2011 12:48 AM #18
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

James: OF course you are correct!

Rob: Thanks!  I'm cautiously optimistic!


Dec 04, 2011 04:02 AM #19
Dan & Linda Tublitz
RE/MAX Services Boca Raton FL - Boca Raton, FL

Carol,  The oceanfront areas that have preserved their character through tough zoning regulations are the ones that survived the housing collapse in Florida.  In South Florida in Delray Beach, their are not just regulations on building height but detailed rules and regulations regarding setbacks, house style and architecture in two designated beach areas.  Sure enough, those areas actually APPRECIATED since 2005.  Wherever zoning regs were lax, the builders went crazy and now the towns and property owners are saddled with empty units not contributing taxes and Condo fees. 

Dec 05, 2011 01:25 PM #20
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Carol Zingone

Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS
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