Northside neighbors concerned about proposed affordable housing complex

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. will meet Thursday with Northside residents who are concerned about a plan to bring an affordable housing apartment complex to their neighborhood.

If approved, the new complex would be built along Biscayne Boulevard near Mar Vic Lane.

More than a dozen Biscayne Boulevard area neighbors gathered Wednesday morning to share their thoughts with News4JAX ahead of the councilman’s meeting.

Biscayne Boulevard is a two-lane, two-way road, and the residents say traffic problems are just the start of their concerns. Garry Jackson has lived in the area for decades and has seen the changes over the years.

“You try to leave out here early in the morning, traffic is backed up already,” Jackson said. “You have new homes down here, this new subdivision down here, it’s just too much congestion. And now you want to add to that?”

RELATED: Northside community expresses traffic concerns as another developer wants to put more apartments on Biscayne Boulevard

It’s not just the added traffic. Other neighbors, including Eugene Eubanks, want to stress they are not against affordable housing, but they still share concerns.

“Affordable housing is always good for the community of Jacksonville and other communities,” Eubanks said. “However, it needs to match what’s going on in the area. When it comes to apartments, apartments are fine. All of us are homeowners and we don’t want our property values to be affected.”

At a similar meeting last October, those neighbors heard from the developer who said under her plan for the apartments along Biscayne Boulevard, a two-bedroom unit would be $1,495 a month.

“I’m trying to make this a place where people can rent affordably for a few years and then move on to homeownership,” she told the group in October.

But for others, including Carolyn Anderson, the proposed apartments just aren’t the right fit for the neighborhood overall.

“I’m just saying if something had to be there, I would rather see houses that match the community that we have now,” Anderson said. “Or some type of business suites that people can rent out and, you know, they’re going to be taken care of.”

The councilman told News4JAX he hopes to find solutions and common ground. His community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Somerset School. The proposal is also currently on the agenda for the city of Jacksonville’s Land Use and Zoning Committee to discuss next week.

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