Eye received numerous calls from west side residents about a construction/demolition project at 5470 & 5505 Timuquana Road. The callers were upset over the demolition of numerous 100 year old oak trees and they had information the developer was working without a permit.
We dug into the information they shared with us. They had a right to be upset because their beliefs seemed to be true.
What was most disconcerting about this information is the city permitting department was contacted by these residents and they were told there was nothing to see there. They called JEA and they said they knew nothing about the project yet their trucks and their staff were the ones who took down the power lines to make room for this new development. They called the General Counsel’s office and the Mayor’s office and were shooed away. A local contractor with ties to big city projects, J B Coxwell, was working on the property too.
Eye decided to reach out to Randy DeFoor, the city council member on one parcel of that project. She didn’t let grass grow under her feet and she quickly reviewed her constituents’ concerns. She reached out to the city and discovered this project was indeed not permitted. She demanded answers from the city, JEA and others involved in the project. It took a few days of people making excuses and others’ shrugging shoulders but she finally got the job shut down.
We send a big Wink to Ms. DeFoor for her quick reaction, thorough research, and holding the city and all involved accountable to doing the right thing. Always remember – give your city council member the chance to right wrongs in their area. That’s part of their job.
We send a big Stink to the city, a Stank to JEA, a Stunk to JB Coxwell and others working on that site without the necessary permits and without paying the required tree mitigation fees. Presently the developer has paid a meager fee of $75 for 100 year old trees destroyed by them instead of the hundreds of thousands of dollars all other developers would have been required to pay.
We have no idea how all this illegal activity happened. The city and all involved are either incompetent or “in cahoots.”
We give a WINK to the wide awake residents who kept pushing to get this information out to the powers to be. We hope the State Attorney’s office will take a look at what went down on this project. Something stinks and one thing is certain – our city has had enough of stinky deals. If anything illegal happened there – everyone involved should be held accountable. If it was purely incompetence — they should be fired and/or fined.
We also send WINKS to the good guys in our city who develop, construct, build and promote great projects for the community. They do things the right way and pay the price of being in business. Good guys always win in the end. Keep being a good guy because this city needs good guys and gals.