Thursday, January 4

Magnolia Grove Subdivision Jax: What You Need To Know

Welcome home to the new Magnolia Grove subdivision on McCormick and Kernan in Jacksonville. KB Home has begun marketing the subdivision, which is right in my neck of the woods. Actually, the woods were torn down to make way for the houses, but it's right over there. So what do you need to know and ask before tossing your hard-earned money at one of these new homes?

We hear McCormick pretty well from our bedroom windows, and Magnolia Grove will be closer to this main arterial. Does KB Home use better windows than DR Horton (who built the homes in this hood)? Ask if the windows are standard contractor grade or if you get something a little more sound proof. Perhaps a sound barrier of some sort will be erected, but the current model homes seem to be right on McCormick. Our house is about 200 feet from the start of Magnolia Grove, so I'd get a decibel measuring app in order to see if your new house has acceptable noise levels. Oh, there's a gas station with a convenience store slated to go in right next door, too, and I contacted KB Home to see if that's what you'd want. They just put me on their email list instead of addressing the concern. You have the power because you have the money, so this is your chance to dictate what really gets built at the corner of Kernan and McCormick. Oh yeah, there are airplanes around here, too. Not a lot and not all the time, but "executives" in their private planes will fly over your house to land at Craig. Again, better windows than we have would help--these aren't exactly airliners.

KB Home's website says this will be a "quaint, walkable community." Quaint must mean "no ammenities." (The actual word on the KB website is "quiant," which may mean something else.) You can walk to all your neighbor's houses, but is there a park or public space planned? Are there any trees left? If you decide to walk to Kernan Forest to play in the small park there, the folks in that community will notice. Ed Austin Park is not walkable, but it's also not too far to drive. It's a nice park, but it seems you'd either want your own subdivision space or a big yard. I have not seen the lot sizes yet, but if you get a 1/4 acre or more, then you can have your own park, I suppose.

The KB Home website also claims it's 10 minutes to the beaches. That's 10 minutes to Hanna Park. More like 15-20 minutes to the other beaches. Still, it's not bad, especially if you're stuck in a quaint neighborhood with bored kids. And you know the Jax traffic. Kernan is still not widened, and I saw complaints about that before my own subdivision was built over a decade ago. Start asking about what the plan is for Kernan before you move in, since the more who ask, the more excuses your local officials have to come up with.

I live a couple blocks from where you'll be buying your new home, and I think it's a safe area. I like where I live, at least as far as crime is concerned. I'm not as sure about traffic safety. The walk/bike path along Kernan has potential to be very nice, but it's currently an adventure to get past each road. More lights (when they're finally added) will help. Crossing Kernan to walk west on McCormick from your new neighborhood is also a challenge. I had to stare down a car in order to cross there, even with a walk signal.

And, once again, a gas station that sells alcohol has no place at the edge of your neighborhood. I know, you're thinking it will be convenient, but for whom? You're about to move into an area surrounded by other subdivisions and churches. Don't allow that atmosphere to change.

The last issue is one of future planning. The land across Kernan is currently zoned for apartments. The owners of that land just got the gas station lot rezoned (BECAUSE there were no homes in the area), so it's not like this developer cares about you (and also ignored my correspondence). If cheap apartments or a mini-mall go in across Kernan, then what? Maybe a payday loan store and a pawn shop to compliment the new gas station.

Next Move
I think most new homeowners get it all wrong. They wait until they are in the new house and then get upset about what they've been told and sold. Tell your sales rep or realtor you want to know what the deal is with the gas station, Kernan widening, and apartment complex, and those windows. Don't sign until you know more. I did not have time to get all the info I wanted, and apparently it's easy for developers and others to ignore me. If all 64 new homeowners in Magnolia Grove make an effort to be heard BEFORE they sign up for the neighborhood, something might get done. We really do want you here. I'd like you to send your kids to Grace Lutheran School, just up the block, so they can be friends with my kids. I want more people who care about the area to live here so that we can all look out for one another. This is your chance to get it right from the start, so make that effort.

City Council
District 2, Al Ferraro: Phone: (904) 630-1392Email:
Assistant: Connie Holt

Group 2 (at large), John R. Crescimbeni: Phone: (904) 630-1381FAX: (904) 630-2906
Assistant: Nikki Evans

Sleiman Enterprises:

Media contact: 
 Katie Boyles,
Other Inquiries:

1 Sleiman Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32216

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