That said, it’s time for that council to decide how it is going to resolve the residential zoning saga that has enveloped the city’s northeast neighborhoods. Meticulousness is good as long as it doesn’t become a hindrance.
In that sense, it is unfortunate that the council did not vote on the proposed ordinances at its meeting Monday night. Likewise, it is disappointing that the council’s next public hearing on the matter won’t take place until May 9 — nearly six weeks from today.
It’s a safe bet that everyone involved — homeowners, landlords, Jacksonville State University students — are tired of the back-and-forth and want a culmination, even if it’s not to their liking.
Yes, it’s important to note that Councilman Mark Jones presented the council with a third zoning option last Friday. That short timeframe gave the council only a weekend to research Jones’ proposal that essentially is a compromise between the original choices: limiting the number of unrelated people in R-1 homes to either two people or three people. The current zoning limit is five, which some residents say is an invitation for unruly behavior by college students.
Essentially, the timing of Jones’ last-minute proposal tied the council’s hands and forced it to table its vote until May. While it’s easy to appreciate Jones’ efforts, the wait is frustrating, nonetheless.
In the meantime, it would be good to hear the missing voices from this discussion. Though this is a municipal issue, its resolution will affect some JSU students who live in off-campus housing — whether they’re good neighbors or not. University leaders should be welcomed to join this public discussion and, if needed, defend those off-campus students who aren’t neighborhood nuisances.
What’s best for JSU’s student body? It would be helpful to know. Perhaps the university’s Student Government Association president should take on that role.
Let’s urge the Jacksonville council to use the coming weeks wisely, to do its due diligence, and be prepared to vote in early May. By then, it undoubtedly will be time to render a decision.