Enterprise Zone Expansion, alcohol ordinance highlight City Council meeting

By Gary Scott on May 23, 2017 at 7:41am

Talk of expanding an Enterprise Zone on East Morton highlighted most of last night’s City Council meeting.

Prior to the normal workshop session, the Jacksonville City Council held a public hearing for the expansion request by Hayes Properties, LLC, owner and developer of a new project The Grove at Country Club Hills.

The project is located at 1013 East Morton and the current development zone is about 6.5 square miles. Twelve square miles is the maximum space allowed for each enterprise zone, while the maximum expansion request is less than one square mile.

Jacksonville aldermen subsequently approved the request during the full council meeting. Owner of Hayes Properties, LLC Mike Hayes says the idea of The Grove differs from what he had originally planned.

“We just acquired the 17-acre parcel from the city of Jacksonville and had a much smaller plan involving single-family homes and duplexes. Shortly after we acquired that, we had the opportunity to purchase the farm land that adjoined it which also backs up against the County Club golf course. Then we started seeing a larger project emerging from that, and I approached the owner of the mobile home park at the time because I wanted to get access to the land on the golf course through the mobile home park off of Morton rather than coming in off of Country Club Road. So I was able to acquire that, and the project started coming together,” Hayes explains.

Hayes Properties, LLC hopes to establish The Grove as a family friendly park/entertainment area, and would include a winery/craft brewery, small food services, and a pavilion or stage for weddings and acoustic music.

Hayes explains that the expansion dealt with only the commercial development.

“The enterprise zone doesn’t provide any benefits for the residential portion of it, so it’s actually limited to what was formerly the Oak’s property, which is where the bulk of the commercial development is going to be, and also the front of the old Pleasant View mobile home park. We’re just going to be looking for a complimentary business to put in ther

In addition to the proposed expansion, aldermen discussed a preliminary plat for 56 residential lots that would fill the lot next to The Grove. These lots would consist mostly of single-family homes and a few duplexes.

Hayes says the plan right now is to develop the lots along Country Club golf course first.

City Council members also approved the first reading of an ordinance related to the sale of alcohol. Specifically, the ordinance lays out requirements for Beverage Alcohol Selling/Servers Education, also known as BASSET. This means that starting July 1, businesses that sell alcohol must have at least one employee trained in BASSET.