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Jacksonville Ordinance Directs Upgrades to Friendship Park and Popular Fountain

Jacksonville's Friendship Park and fountain are set for upgrades, including LED lighting. New porous paving, in keeping with the recently adopted Miami streetscape standard, will replace the old impermeable concrete. More landscaping, grass and trees are also planned.

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Friendship Park in Jacksonville, Fla. and its expansive fountain opened more than 40 years ago.

After all those decades of use, the fountain has some repair issues and the surrounding concrete expanse has lost some luster.

On Feb. 9, Jacksonville City Council enacted an ordinance appropriating $3.1 million to restore the fountain and make significant improvements to Friendship Park. Two days later, the Downtown Development Review Board of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission unanimously approved the final plan.

JBC Planning & Engineering presented the design. Landscape architect Chris Flagg also worked on the design. Grass and other landscaping will replace much of the current park hardscape. Mr. Flagg told the local media the plant materials will conform with new regulations requiring low water consumption and that much of the new hardscape will be porous, in line with the recently adopted Miami streetscape standard.

The existing tree canopy will be preserved and more trees planted. The fountain and park lighting will be upgraded to LEDs. Project permits are anticipated within a month.

Stuff Your Water Bill

Legislators love making laws. The people, however, often feel encumbered by laws and tend to ignore them if they can, especially if the law doesn't make sense, is inconvenient or costly, or all the aforementioned.

Butte County Calif. supervisors are in no hurry to comply with the state mandated water bill. Lake Oroville in Butte County, north central California,
is pictured.

California passed a water bill in Sept. 2009 that went into effect the beginning of 2010. The bill, AB 1881, is all about water savings and is aimed at new construction and commercial landscapes. Existing landscapes and irrigation systems are not forced to retrofit under AB 1881.

Not everyone is "on board" with the new law. reports Butte County supervisors are looking for ways to ignore 1881. Oroville, pop. 13,000, the county seat of Butte County, is in central northern California. Oroville lies on the banks of the Feather River, whose waters flow down from the Sierra Nevada to the flats of the California Central Valley.

Under the law, the county is supposed to adopt a model ordinance that requires a building or landscaping permit, plan check and a professional design review of private or developer-installed single or multi-family landscaping of 2,500 sq. ft. or more, and homeowner-done or homeowner-hired landscapes of 5,000 sq. ft. or more.

The county has to administer the permits and do the plan checks. Individuals seeking permits must hire a professional to review the landscape design.

Of course, the law promotes conservation and water use efficiency, which can irk northern Californians. Oroville Supervisor Bill Connelly, chairman of the Butte County supervisors, reckons arid southern Calif. is forcing the north, which gets significant rainfall, to conserve water so it can be
sent southward.

Other concerns of the supervisors are the costs of permitting and design reviews. The law requires counties to tell the state Department of Water Resources how they have complied with the new mandate. What would state water officials do if the county ignored the water law, wondered the Butte supervisors during a recent session?

The outcome is that Butte County supervisors agreed, unanimously, to take the necessary time to come up with an ordinance reasonable for
Butte County.

Butte County Calif. supervisors are in no hurry to comply with the state mandated water bill.

Coming to a Home Depot Near You

You'll soon see businesses occupying one-acre parcels within the parking lots of the larger Home Depots. The company figures about a quarter of its parking lots have enough room for another business establishment. And what company couldn't use another revenue source?

Most cities have landscape ordinances for parking lots of a certain size. In the big Home Depot parking lots you'll find grass buffers and trees breaking up the asphalt monotony.

Home Depot has 1,972 locations. The stores are found in the U.S., but also the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, in Canada, China and Mexico. Stores average 105,000 square feet with approximately 23,000 additional square feet of outside garden area.

Fast-food, banks or auto-parts stores are the most likely businesses for the parking lots, according to the company's real estate division. Retailers are reportedly already lining up for several Southern California locations.

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October 17, 2019, 6:31 am PDT

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