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Super 1 Foods Store Manager Chris Belt (center) and Market Manager Kevin Oden accepted the Business of the Month award from JEDCO ‘s Sheri McDonald.

The Jacksonville city council denied a rezoning request for a property, 8.23 acres in size, located at 1521 E. Rusk, previously known as Gardendale Nursing Home.

The public hearing regarding this matter, which remained open since the February city council meeting, was again addressed at the March 14 meeting. The request under consideration was two-fold, a zone change from B (one and two family) to C (multifamily) and a special use permit to allow for a convalescent home.

During discussion, council members expressed their desire to see a nursing facility open in Jacksonville to replace the previous one. While the applicant, HX Group LLC, states the intention is to open a convalescent home, once the zone change and SUP is approved, the plan could be changed without notice to the city.

An alternative to the multifamily zoning would be commercial planned development.

“The planned development would basically mean a denial of this tonight or no action, which is

essentially denial. Then we would reach out the applicant and inform them about the planned development process, which is basically where you would rewrite the zoning ordinance custom-tailored to this specific property,” City Manager James Hubbard said.

In response to District 3 Councilman Tim McRae’s query about the difficulty of the planned development option, Hubbard stated it would not be that difficult, but would involve some time, noting he didn’t believe time was of the essence to the applicant.

“I would almost like to see us pursue that route,” McRae said.

Other council members agreed, as they voted to deny the zoning request from B (one and two family) to C (multifamily).

“This really isn’t saying no to a nursing home, it’s just saying no to the zoning change,” McRae said.

Mayor Randy Gorham abstained on this issue, as he shares a property line with the subject property.

Council heard from Cameron Aaron of Patillo, Brown and Hill, regarding the firm’s financial audit of the city’s 2021-2022 fiscal year. The city received an unmodified - or clean - opinion, the highest assurance that can be provided.

“We found no deficiencies in internal controls and no material weaknesses,” Aaron said.

A single audit, regarding federal grants, also received an unmodified opinion.

The consent agenda was approved in whole and consisted of:

• An ordinance canceling the May 6 municipal election and declaring all candidates elected, as there were no contested places

• A street closure for the Glow Run scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, as part of the Tomato Fest week of activities

• The sport league licensing agreements with Jacksonville Baseball/Softball and Soccer Associations

• A resolution adopting fiscal and budgetary policies

• An ordinance codifying ambulance fees

• A resolution modifying the meeting frequency of the finance committee

• Previous meeting minutes

The council also authorized

• The city manager to enter into an agreement for emergency repairs to well number five

• The designating of Austin Bank as the city depository

• The appointments and re-appointments to various boards, commissions and committees

• A resolution suspending for 45 days the effective date of new gas rates proposed by CenterPoint Energy

The council passed a single agenda item, choosing a construction manager at risk for the remodel of the civic center.

“Mayor, city council, we did have four qualified proposals submitted yesterday for the bid opening, however we want to take a little bit more time to assess those with the help of GLS, the architect, and an internal committee with staff, so we’re going to recommend that we don’t take action on that this evening,” Hubbard said. “Expect to see it on the April agenda.”

Sheri McDonald, with the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, named Super 1 Foods as the Business of the Month.

“Super 1 has been a community partner from day one,” McDonald said.

Store Manager Chris Belt and Marketing Manager Kevin Odem were present to receive the award.

“It’s been the greatest experience for me,” Belt said. “The city of Jacksonville has welcomed us with open arms, welcomed my family with open arms. We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

He noted the store would be conducting a “Fill the Big Cart” food drive to benefit HOPE on Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26. They would drive the cart full of groceries and deliver the donated food items on Monday, March 27.

During the citizen participation portion of the meeting, two individuals addressed the council.

Lily Flanders requested the city consider making the library more inviting to youth, presenting ideas for doing so. She also noted a need for additional seating.

Charles Flanders voiced his concerns regarding unrestricted economic growth and expansion of businesses.

“I understand that we want to have economic progress and we want to have growth and we want to have businesses move in. But, in the small town that I was from, the same exact thing happened. All lot of those businesses that moved in promised that they’re here for the community and that they’re doing good things. Everybody sees the money behind it and the see the employment behind it, but nobody looks at the negative consequences that also come with that,” he said. “As it starts to grow and as it’s becoming bigger, really take the time and look at some of the negative consequences that come with that and make sure they don’t change this town for the worse. This is a really good town.”

During the city manager’s report, Hubbard noted the cleanup of Sea Scout Park; the Second Great Jacksonville Cleanup was scheduled for Saturday, March 25; and the new trash cart program was going well. He also stated the city had introduced a new yard waste pickup program. Residents should contact the city at, specifying an address and a request for a Wednesday Yard Waste Pickup, by the end of Monday for pickup the following Wednesday. Up to 10 bags of leaves, as well small bundles of limbs, up to four feet in length, may be picked up free of charge. Household waste, tires and other trash will not be included in the free yard waste collection.

City council meetings are regularly scheduled for 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at City Hall, 315 S. Ragsdale.

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