On May 16, 2023, residents in Jacksonville Beach voted overwhelmingly (82%) in opposition to a proposed charter amendment that would increase the building height cap from 35' to 55' feet. The Surfrider Foundation First Coast Chapter barrier island residents and volunteers were highly concerned about proposal to open up the 35' building restriction on their shores when the item was first considered back in 2021 and activated to prevent this troubling measure from passing.
As Florida's coastal habitats experience squeeze from feckless growth and development and rising seas, growth management measures on the local level are critical to coastal preservation. That's why First Coast Chapter activists began attending city council meetings when 55' redevelopment was first proposed and began to advocate against any increase in height restrictions. They were ready to activate to protect the fragile barrier island environment they treasure in Jacksonville Beach and nearby communities.
Chapter members attended numerous public meetings and made public comment against proposed cap increase, wrote letters to the city commission and mayor, and helped circulate a petition opposing this measure in the local community. The First Coast Chapter also asked the city to consider nature-based solutions for land use on the barrier island rather than commercial redevelopment.
With the overwhelming opposition from Jacksonville Beach, Surfrider Foundation's First Coast Chapter celebrates this victory for coastal habitats in the region.