New businesses in Riverside could face early closing time

Janny Rodriguez reports. 10/18/2016

Might new Riverside businesses get an early bedtime? You might see some new businesses in the area forced to close down every night at 8 p.m.

A Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love is sponsoring the proposed bill—would limit where and how long new business operate. The idea is already causing pushback form some residents in the area.

"I think it's a little bit of a catch 22,” says Riverside resident Colette Bing. “Especially in this area there are a lot of artists. There's a lot of people that work in the food industry, there's a lot of people that work everywhere and they are the kind of people that are the demographic that are going to be served in this neighborhood.”

The bill proposes new restaurants including those serving alcohol who wish to open up shop outside a commercial area must follow a new set of requirements. Those requirements mandate the establishment must close by—you guessed it: 8 p.m. The business must have parking on site and it cannot seat more than 60 people.

Supporters of the bill include the Riverside-Avondale Preservation society.

They sent First Coast News a statement, which reads, in part:

This legislation is intended to help further clarify what commercial uses are compatible in the historic residential character areas. RAP is planning a community meeting in early November, and welcomes community input and feedback on the proposals. The Riverside Avondale Zoning Overlay, passed in 2008 by a unanimous vote by the City Council, recognized that the city’s overall zoning code was not always in alignment with the needs of the historic district.

While there are people who agree with preserving the neighborhood, they say the bill will do more bad than good and draw entrepreneurs away.

“It hurts the community overall and not just from a business perspective. I want to see more restaurants, more cafes more bars," says Chase Fowler, a barista at Brew Five Points.

It is important to note the bill would impose these rules on businesses that want to build outside of 'commercial areas' in Riverside-Avondale.

The bill is still under review. RAP is planning a community meeting in early November, and welcomes community input and feedback on the proposals.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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