Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

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Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:59 pm

I was going through the property listings on COJ.net's MapIt system and found this set of lots, between Union and Beaver St., that are owned by Renaissance Development One Inc. and an individual named Thomas Woods.



(The lot in the North-East corner is occupied by a business. So that's a no go.)

Here's a street view of it from Beaver St. on Google Maps...
http://maps.google.com/?ll=30.332735,-81.662196&spn=0.001267,0.001742&t=h&z=20&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=30.332713,-81.662098&panoid=y98f95y10jfPFZT-T3wT9A&cbp=12,349.23,,0,0

And from Union St...
http://maps.google.com/?ll=30.332713,-81.662096&spn=0.005068,0.006968&t=h&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=30.333456,-81.66194&panoid=dWgG1klK_aNWc_RRnZolnQ&cbp=12,206.71,,0,0&z=18

Let me know what you guys think... it's only a few blocks from Hemming Plaza so it might just work as a permanent location! scratch

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Geno on Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:12 pm

Good job finding that! Let's get the legal team to find out what's involved for us to stay there.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Corporation Cruncher on Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:25 am

Fantastic find, Keith! Looks like it's really the only thing around that would work too (unless we could get a business to let us camp out). Anyone have any ideas of how to find Mr. Woods?

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:21 am

I've already found Renaissance Development. Tried called them earlier today, but nobody answered. So I'm going to try again tomorrow.

As for Mr. Woods, I've already found out that he lives in Orlando via. the deed filed with the city when he purchased the property. So I'm going to look him up and give him a call tomorrow as well Wink

THE BAD NEWS: I've found 2 of the lots are actually owned by someone else... one using a PO box and the records are missing for the other. A 3rd lot was also bought by a some sort of land trust (meaning there's no name listed). So I'm kind of screwed when it comes to those. But the way I figure it, if I can get permission from a MAJORITY of the land owners (which are Renaissance Development and Mr. Woods) we should be alright as the property lines aren't marked.

They were all bought 6+ years ago any ways and are already occupied by the homeless 95% of the time to begin with. So I don't think it will be a problem. But I just want some kind of confirmation.
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Toaster on Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:27 pm

sounds like a plan, shit tell them we'll clean it in exchange for our occupation
no one would turn down free litter patrol
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by melittophily on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:20 am

Great find. All they can do is say no.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:47 pm

@Toaster - Yeah, Geno(?) or James(?) had the same idea. I'm even planning on offering them some landscaping for free. I have access to all kinds of equipment through one of my retired bosses. But not one of those bad-ass Toro riding mowers, sadly. So the grass will have to wait Wink
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by friendofcash on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:14 pm

Keith, we appreciate your focus on a place to occupy!

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by lunarfaerie on Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:18 pm

http://howtooccupy.org/

i found this and after a bit of exploring, thought it might be helpful to you in your ressearch, @Keith...
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:29 pm

Yeah, a lot of good reading there. Thanks for that! Very Happy
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by lunarfaerie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:48 am

@keith: one of our event team folks also had an idea about the old boat yards property downtown (across from maxwell house), after being a huge monetary drain, it is now city owned property...i thought it sounded worth looking into... =)
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by jodikasten on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:11 am

That looks like a central location, with Union right there. I wish they'd let us have the platforms from the old motel that has been sitting there for 20 years empty that they just leveled on State St. (Park Inn?) Being on street level a stone's throw from the City Mission/Bus Station area would require police protection, at the very least from pot-shotting ticked off good ol' boys.

As awesome as it would be to have private land to occupy, the path of least resistance (I know I sound like a broken record) is getting city cooperation. check out the Occupy Pensacola site if you haven't already.

In exchange for agreeing to clear the plaza for previously scheduled city events, OP was given a two week permit to stay in MLK Plaza. This area is a wide-median dedicated memorial area on the "main street" of the downtown business district of Pensacola. Incidentally, it's in the middle of the street where my mother worked for BofA (or the little guys they ate) for 30 years. To give you some perspective, this is like us getting permission to camp in Hemming Plaza. They have been provided with portapotties and electricity by the city.

Maybe if we approach the city with a limited duration time frame and go through the proper channels we could get the same kind of situation. After all, we do have a progressive mayor who had the foresight to send a rep out to the GA on Saturday. He knows we are there and sees us as a resource.


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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:32 pm

I have to say this: I am not a lawyer! So don't take what I say as fact. This is merely my interpretation of the ordinances I've read from searching on Municode and the information provided by the City Appraiser page on COJ.net. My opinion, if you will.

There doesn't seem to be any law against trespassing on public property - unless posted. It's also not a park, it's actually zoned as an Enterprise lot; so I don't think the curfew would apply. Tents would probably be allowed as well, as the the ordinance on those is VERY specific on where you can't erect them (see below). So I think that site just might work!

Sec. 28.709. - Camping and erection of tents and buildings prohibited.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to camp or otherwise sleep overnight in or upon any park, beach, dock, marina or other recreational facility, without first having obtained a permit to do so from the Director; provided however, no permit shall be required at Katherine Abby Hanna Park or Huguenot Park, provided any applicable fees have been paid.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than authorized personnel, to build or place any tent (except for tents designed for sun shelter and used during daylight hours), building, shack, booth, stand or other structure in or upon any park, beach, dock, marina or other recreational facility, without first having obtained a permit to do so from the Director; provided however, no permit shall be required at Katherine Abby Hanna Park or Huguenot park.
Again, it's an Enterprise lot, so it doesn't fall into any of those categories. In my opinion, that is.

It's definitely a good find. Because I still haven't been able to get a hold of the property owners of the previous location. They refuse to answer the phone or return my calls. It's quite rude, to be honest.

PS - I'll drive by there in a bit, to see if it's posted or not (don't drive by there often, so I don't know for sure).


Last edited by Keith on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:48 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added the post-script.)
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by jodikasten on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:39 pm

There's a darn good chance the property owners are in foreclosure and that's why they aren't answering the phones. A better bet may be to take a cruise around the area and see what properties have "for sale" signs on them. Then, contact the realtor and see if the owners would let us use a property in exchange for cleaning it up.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:46 pm

I drove by the previous lot the other day. It's not posted at all. For sale or trespassing.

And they were bought out right. They have the deeds filed with the city in their name.
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by jodikasten on Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:39 pm

Ah, dodgy then! Do we have anyone on a team that is systematically looking into how other cities that are occupying got their spaces?

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:27 pm

Most of them are privately owned, like in NYC; or they have permits to use parks. Such as Cleveland, who's permit expired and everyone refused to leave. So the police started arresting everyone for violating the local park curfew.

Then there's the rare exception where the city granted them a free permit to use the park. Like, as you mentioned, in Pensacola. Or where the police refused to arrest them for violating the local ordinances - like in Albany. The way things are looking here, I wouldn't be surprised if JSO refused to do anything as well. Seeing as how their union is pissed off about the recent layoffs they had no say-so in (they could have agreed to a pay cut to keep their fellow officers on staff, but the city didn't even ask).
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by jodikasten on Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:12 pm

Yeah, the JSO really has an air about them during events. They have been very relaxed and had good humor. I don't know that I'd bank my freedom on it, but given the choice, I think they will help. Maybe our best method would be to assign several people different routes and we'll just see what pans out first.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Corporation Cruncher on Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:57 am

Does that mean that we may have a place to occupy?

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Keith on Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:09 am

It looks it Wink
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Corporation Cruncher on Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:17 am

Awesome. Should we propose a day to move in? Very Happy Also, it's conveniently close to the jail, so at least if they coppers do get antsy to fill the clink, we'll be able to walk across the street from HQ and protest it.

Edit: I just looked at the google street view of the location and got pretty excited. Not only would we be standing up for our rights, but you'd wake up every day next to the river with the sunrise, to the smell of coffee. I really hope this location works out. Not to mention that everyone and their dog would have to drive by us on the way to the Jags games.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by lunarfaerie on Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:03 am

quick thing to look up before we get too excited...a friend of mine mentioned that this might be a highly polluted spot, possibly unsafe for camping...

one other thing, if we do decide this is the spot... shelter from the sun and wind will be very important, not to mention access to restrooms, etc...
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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by jodikasten on Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:14 am

I agree. There are no places that have safe public restrooms anywhere in that area. Even downtown at night, we cannot depend on using public bathrooms the way they can in NYC. A port-o-let would be essential. And, as you noted, many homeless often camp in that lot. They do not have a port-o-let or a trash can.

I have two very large (10x14 and 10x18) tents that I can loan since I won't be able to overnight with the spawn.

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by wilB on Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:12 pm

With Oakland, Atlanta, and Orlando occupy camps forced to close this morning. I believe it is very important to move forward on occupying a physical location here in Jacksonville. I feel it is the best way to spread the word and create interest in our movement. Keith has done a wonderful job researching this location downtown. Yes, there are concerns about a bathroom, shelter and safety ect. But together we are strong and together we are smart enough to overcome all concerns with solutions.

What is the next step?

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

Post by Corporation Cruncher on Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:55 pm

I think the next step is to put it up as a proposal (after doing appropriate research) for the group to vote on. We do everything together. And yes, thank you Keith. Great work!

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Re: Privately Owned Lot(s) Downtown

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