General Information

The Office of Economic Development and its Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) are responsible for reviewing and approving projects for compliance with the Downtown Master Plan and the Downtown Zoning Overlay. The DDRB process is two-tiered with a conceptual and final design review process.

To provide flexible land use and design guidance for new and rehabilitation projects in the downtown area, the Jacksonville City Council adopted the Downtown Master Plan - Ordinance 2000-321-E on May 9, 2000; the Downtown Sign Overlay - Ordinance 2002-446-E on June 26, 2002; the Downtown Zoning Overlay - Ordinance 2003-627-E on June 30, 2003; - both of which were amended by Ordinance 2007-564-E on June 26, 2007.

All projects located within the jurisdiction of the DDRB are subject to these Ordinances. Click here to view the DDRB Boundary Map (PDF 940K).

Review by the Office of Economic Development

The Office of Economic Development is the master developer of the Consolidated Downtown Development of Regional Impact Development Order (DRI DO), approved March 12, 1993 and the Transportation Concurrency Exception Area (TCEA), approved December 13, 2005.

DRI development rights are obtained only after receiving conceptual approval by the DDRB. All new and rehabilitation projects require DRI development rights, which are made available through the Consolidated Downtown DRI DO. A developer of a proposed project must obtain DRI development rights prior to receiving civil plan and building permit approval. DRI development rights are allocated to a developer through a Redevelopment Agreement, negotiated by the Office of Economic Development and approved by City Council. Developers are required to mitigate the impacts of their proposed development by adhering to the Consolidated Downtown DRI DO conditions and agreeing to applicable TCEA Mobility Performance Standards.

The downtown area is designated a TCEA and requires developers to agree to implement applicable mobility improvements that promote mixed-use development, increased efficiency of existing roadways, enhanced streetscapes, mass transit ridership, transit oriented design, etc., in lieu of traditional road widening improvements.

Review by DDRB

The process is most productive for the applicant when the developer/design team meets with OED staff very early in the planning process - creating a collaborative approach with the city. The DDRB reviews and approves zonings, variances, exceptions and designs of new and rehabilitation projects in the downtown area for compliance with the Downtown Master Plan, Downtown Zoning Overlay and the Downtown Sign Overlay. This review process includes the following:

  1. Meeting with Office of Economic Development/DDRB staff
  2. Provide a completed DDRB Application (PDF 76K) that includes information on the project, appropriate drawings, etc.
  3. Conceptual review and critique by the DDRB at a public meeting
  4. Negotiate redevelopment agreement with Office of Economic Development staff allocating DRI development rights for projects that require City Council approval.
  5. Final review by the DDRB at a public meeting that includes revisions and supplemental information. Deviations to the Design Criteria and Special Sign Exceptions are also addressed during the Final Review process, if applicable.

The review process starting with conceptual review to final review and approval can take from two to three months, depending on the degree of complexity and completeness of a project. Final approvals are valid for a period of one year, unless associated with an approved redevelopment agreement, which may have longer approval periods.

Downtown Development Guidance Documents

Downtown Development is guided by the following documents in which staff will use in evaluating a proposed project and are as follows:

  • Downtown Master Plan: A strategic Downtown Master Plan was developed that created 10 districts for downtown. The Master Plan includes a statement of goals, policies and objectives on economic development, urban design, design guidelines, land use and transportation components.
  • Downtown Overlays: A Downtown Zoning Overlay and Downtown Signage Overlay were created to define site-specific criteria established in the Downtown Master Plan. The Zoning Overlay refines the districts and uses allowed, adds bonus uses above the current underlying zoning districts, and creates parking standards that allows for off-site use of parking facilities. The Signage Overlay creates streetscape standards to enhance the pedestrian experience and reduces the need for vehicular travel during the workday, creates specific criteria for urban design, site design and building form objectives.
  • Consolidated Downtown DRI: The Consolidated Downtown DRI Master Development Plan was amended to reflect the land uses as described in the Downtown Master Plan and Downtown Zoning Overlay. The Consolidated Downtown DRI was approved in 1992 and all development must be consistent with the conditions of the development order before building permits can be applied for thru the city's Building Inspection Division.
  • Transportation Plan: The Strategic Transportation Plan that was developed re-establishes pedestrian priority on street design, reorients appropriate streets from one-way to two-way streets, encourages on-street parking to reduce vehicle speeds and volume and enhance pedestrian safety, encourages the use of mass transit (trolley, shuttle, water taxi) for short-range trips throughout downtown in conjunction with the 'Skyway', and encourages the integration of outlying mass transit options such as light rail, busways, and the former Jacksonville Rail Terminal at the Prime Osborne Convention Center.
  • Transportation Concurrency Exception Area: Downtown was recently designated as a Transportation Concurrency Exception Area (TCEA) to promote mixed-use development tied into mass transit options to mitigate the impacts of development on the downtown and surrounding roadway system.

TCEA & DRI Contact

Please contact Jim Klement, Redevelopment Coordinator, at (904) 630-2689 or at jklement@coj.net for questions on the redevelopment agreement and TCEA process.

DDRB Forms and Guidelines