Jacksonville, FL (February 8, 2022) – After eighteen years in the making, Council Member Becton’s introduction of Ordinance 2021-838 establishing the Baymeadows Community Improvement District (BCID) was finally adopted by City Council. The purpose and need of the BCID stems from issues involving this previous golf course community off Baymeadows Road to have a single entity responsible and able to manage its publicly-used private roads, stormwater, and drainage systems that are not city-owned or city-maintained.
“The history of this community, going back to the closure in 2005 of the old golf-course, has seen its public infrastructure, including roads, stormwater, and drainage systems fail and deteriorate; at times public safety was a major concern,” Council Member Becton explained. “The fact is that all of these issues are in everyone’s best interest to have the ability to improve and maintain them in perpetuity,” Council Member Becton added. “Having a single entity, like the BCID, can help protect property values, improve the quality of life, prevent crime, and reduce neighborhood decline due to assuring that these community assets are functioning properly and will be maintained.”
The bill, which only establishes the BCID, outlines the boundaries, defines its mission and responsibilities, and appoints the initial Board of Directors who will in the future be elected by the district membership of property owners. This legislation did not levy any immediate assessment against property owners within the district as that decision will be the responsibility of the BCID Board of Directors in its requirement to review the needs, prioritize its work, and craft a budget that must be approved by City Council on an annual basis.
The BCID is an entity described by Florida Statues 189.02 as a “Dependent Special District” (DSD). Dependent Special Districts have the ability to manage, own, operate, construct, and finance basic capital infrastructure, facilities, and services which provide assurance to property owners and the applicable community that infrastructure maintenance and improvements along with other services will continue. The DSD will ensure accountability of public resources since its governing boards are held to the same high standards as municipalities and counties.
Four previous DSD’s have been approved within Duval County similar to the BCID. These districts include: Harbor Waterways (Ord. 2010-725), Isle of Palms (Ord. 2011-724), Miller’s Creek (Ord. 2014-700), and Tarpon Cover (Ord. 2017-154) which all manage public private-waterway infrastructure for their neighborhoods and communities. These districts have been tremendously successful in delivering their intended services, keeping costs low through competitive bidding and economies of scale.
During the debate of the bill, Council Member Becton communicated the following:
As I have explained, the Old Baymeadows Golf Course Community was developed over 50 years ago when Neighborhood Development Standards were quite different. Instead of public infrastructure ending up being City-Owned and City-Maintained, the roadways, stormwater, and drainage systems are all privately owned and privately maintained by many private individuals and organizations.
This situation, over the years, has resulted in neighborhood decline as there is no coordination or collaboration in maintaining these assets, much less the thought of performing any neighborhood improvements.
For 15+ years, I have lived these issues and the need for this legislation, first as a business and commercial property owner and now as a prospective member of the BCID.
I do not take this lightly, but as I have experienced over those many years, the facts are the facts, and everyone will benefit if the truth is told. During our committee meetings, I have tried to answer your questions and, to the best of my ability, to help you understand and appreciate the depth of the problem but also the seriousness of the issues. The truth, however, is this – if left unresolved, these problems are not going to go away and will plague this neighborhood, this community of Jacksonville, forever.
As an example, during our committee discussions, I asked you to “imagine that the streets where you live are not city-owned or city-maintained.” Your street conditions are left up to private entities who don’t care or perhaps those roadways are “tax-reverted”. How do property owners get them repaired or maintained? Who steps up and organizes the assessment process when they are in dire need of maintenance?
In addition, I also asked you to “imagine that your neighborhood has 30+ stormwater ponds, all interconnected with underground pipes, weirs, and other infrastructure.” Who is responsible for addressing and paying for issues when stormwater pipes from one pond to another, crossing the property of many property owners, collapses or is clogged? Who is responsible and who pays for that?
It has been my experience that NO HOA budget or reserves account for a stormwater system that they cannot see. Therefore, this issue is not about a property owner being fiscally or not fiscally responsible. I contend it’s about the type of infrastructure that has to be the responsibility of the entire community, not just one individual or entity.
These are REAL examples of the issues that this bill is trying to address.”
Prior to the final vote on the bill, Council Member Becton stated the following:
“Eighteen years ago, this neighborhood recruited me to help lead them in addressing issues of concern regarding: 1) the density and infill development of the purchase of the Old Baymeadows Golf Course by DR Horton (DRH), 2) the traffic congestion on Baymeadows Road, and 3) the issues of decline that were prevalent within this community because of the failing conditions of poor repair and upkeep from internal public infrastructure.
Since that time, working together with the neighborhood we have accomplished a great deal – 1) We negotiated with DRH for density reductions from about 1,800 residential units to 550, 2) we negotiated one-time infrastructure improvements by DRH, and 3) we negotiated public space donations from DRH at the neighborhood’s insistence. All for the benefit of this neighborhood.
Since that time, we have also gained a $50m dollar investment, that of Baymeadows Park at the front door of this neighborhood, as opposed to other uses that the neighborhood found very undesirable. Upon its completion, I believe this project will be transformational.
Transportation improvements, just announced by FDOT in the past few weeks, to increase the capacity, enhance the traffic flow, and improve conditions for Baymeadows Rd will soon be underway. There will be new added travel lanes, traffic lights, and a redesign of the entire interchange, which again, will be a game changer for that area. It is with great appreciation and a personal “Thank You” to FDOT’s Jim Knight that I acknowledge our work together and partnership on these improvements!
The revitalization of Baymeadows was a major priority when I took office, and in that regard, I am here today asking for your support to complete the final item that I believe is essential to accomplishing that goal.
Over all these years, along with leaders of this community, we have spent thousands of hours in neighborhood meetings, town halls, and communicating with the neighborhoods in various ways looking for answers for the one remaining issue that plagues this community, and that is the 50+ year old Public Infrastructure that is not City-Owned or City Maintained.
In looking for solutions, the Baymeadows Community Council, a group of residential leaders from their prospective HOAs, identified FL Statute 189 as a possible answer to that problem. In reflecting on how to create a Dependent Special District (DSD), the process was followed for consistency and identical to the previous four Districts that this Council has passed. The most recent in 2017. From there, they concluded that not only was the DSD the BEST SOLUTION to resolving these issues, but the ONLY SOLUTION.
This legislation appoints a Board of Commissioners, consistent with what was done in the past. These appointments, by the selection from community leaders, adheres to the diverse requirements specified in this bill. These individuals are property owners who have agreed to step up and fulfill the mission of the BCID and are able to hit the ground running, providing the best opportunity for its success. It’s a pretty accurate statement to also say, like many organizations of the same, “there is not a long line of volunteers begging to have this job”.
Another important point, not routinely understood by new communities, is that their benefits go beyond the shared public infrastructure for which this bill includes. The bill identifies their local public infrastructure being transferred to the district, effectively being a net wash on those specific costs.
The Old Golf Course of Baymeadows closure in 2004 left this community with a huge problem. It was not long ago that residents and leaders were seeing first-hand the impact to public infrastructure that was not city-owned or city-maintained and contributing to decline. Today for some residents they buy property and continue to believe that the city is going to be responsible and will take care of their issues when trouble occurs.
When trouble does occur everyone will be affected, and it will be everyone’s problem. When those problems do happen, this neighborhood will be challenged to figure out “Who responsibility is it?”, “Who’s going to pay for it?” and as a reminder, the Gas Tax cannot and will not help.
Again, I hope that you have the information that you need to understand the scope and the magnitude of the problems and to understand that this bill only creates the BCID and does not AUTHORIZE ANY ASSESSMENTS, but only provides this community a tool to help solve their problems themselves.
I am asking you to please support the creation of the Baymeadows Community Improvement District. I thank you for your support.”
For More Information on the Baymeadows Corridor Improvement District, Please Visit: