Executive Summary

It is the intent of this ordinance to create a Downtown Overlay Zone to promote and encourage revitalization and growth in downtown by maximizing the use of all available resources, ensuring a high degree of compatibility between new and existing uses, promoting mixed-use developments, streamlining the review and approval process for projects, and ensuring quality development.

The Downtown Zoning Overlay area, including the Downtown Districts established therein, is established as the zoning district within the downtown area. The proposed land uses and design objectives of the Downtown Master Plan (PDF 15.49M) established the basis for the Downtown Zoning Overlay.

In order to promote mixed-use development in downtown, it is necessary to create a Downtown Overlay Zone which gives special consideration to certain uses and design considerations due to the unique characteristics of downtown. This consideration is necessary because certain types of development may not be permitted in or meet all of the requirements of a traditional zoning district.

The Downtown Overlay Zone shall ensure the implementation of the Downtown Master Plan based on the following principles:

(a) A diverse mix of land uses shall always be permitted in the downtown area;

(b) Downtown shall be promoted as a viable and vital residential area and residential uses are an acceptable land use anywhere in the downtown area;

(c) The market place, not regulations, should be the primary force driving the mix of land uses;

(d) Appropriate overlay zone standards and design review criteria shall be the principal tools to ensure compatible, high quality development;

(e) Quality public spaces such as streets, sidewalks, parks, and squares where citizens come to know each other and watch over their collective security shall be provided;

(f) Overlay zone standards may vary within Downtown Districts in order to achieve long-term planning objectives;

(g) Development regulations shall promote the continued use and/or redevelopment of historical and older structures;

(h) Building densities that support the use of mass transit shall be established and strategically located and off-street parking space requirements shall be eliminated in the core area and reduced in other downtown areas, except for new residential uses;

(i) Parking garages shall incorporate active uses on the ground floor in order to engage pedestrians and surface parking lots shall be discouraged unless landscaping and architectural treatments are incorporated to soften their appearance; and

(j) Parking minimums and maximums shall be established to promote the use of peripheral parking associated with the ASE and other forms of mass transit.

Implementation of the Downtown Master Plan

The Overlay Zone reinforces and implements the nine policy principles developed as the policy framework to guide the redevelopment of downtown. The Overlay Zone shall ensure the implementation of the Master Plan based on the following principles:

(a) Diverse land uses shall always be permitted;

(b) Residential uses shall be permitted and everywhere;

(c) The market place, not regulations, should drive development;

(d) The Overlay Zone and Design Review criteria shall be applied to ensure proper development;

(e) Quality public spaces should be provided;

(f) Zoning standards may vary by subdistricts;

(g) Historic Preservation should be encouraged;

(h) Development adjacent to mass transit should be encouraged;

(i) Parking structures shall incorporate ground-floor retail within the central civic district and along established retail pedestrian oriented streets.

Downtown Development Review Board

The Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB), is comprised of members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council, is a specific recommendation of the Downtown Master Plan and was codified by the passage of the Downtown Zoning Overlay by City Council on June 30, 2003. The Downtown Zoning Overlay was updated and approved by City Council on June 26, 2007. The DDRB shall review all public work projects, partnerships with the city that require funding and all projects that require permitting.

Applicants shall follow the complete prescribed application and approval procedure, which provide a two-step review of each project (conceptual and final approval). However, applicants may obtain conceptual and final approval concurrently for smaller projects or projects that do not require substantial alterations. 


To minimize the aesthetic and transportation related impacts of parking in downtown, the Downtown Overlay Zone allows alternative approaches to addressing off-street and surface parking. These alternatives ensure that the design of parking facilities minimally affect the pedestrian environment by requiring enhanced architectural treatments and ground floor retail or similar uses in structured parking facilities, landscaping of surface parking lots and establish maximum versus minimum parking space requirements to substantially reduce or remove required off-street parking (on-site) requirements for downtown development. Parking regulations have been significantly reduced to promote peripheral development of parking facilities and to support the use of downtown mass transit options.


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. The Downtown Zoning Overlay requires a developer obtain DRI development rights prior to receiving final DDRB approval.

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 final DDRB 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.

Information Available for Download

Downtown Zoning Overlay Legislation (PDF 246K)

Ordinance 2007-564-E (DOC 195K)

Summary of Legislation (PDF 78K)

Graphics- Figures Referenced in Legislation (PDF 1.42M)

TCEA Monitoring Plan (PDF 2.91M)

TCEA Monitoring Plan Appendices (PDF 6.86M)


117 West Duval Street, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 630-3492