Foerster Isaac & Yerkes signs with RLS Group advertising

RLS Group is now representing the law offices of Foerster Isaac & Yerkes for advertising and marketing.

Rob Storey, President of RLS Group stated, “we are proud of the advertising work done for Foerster Isaac & Yerkes and value our relationship with the attorneys there.”

RLS Group is a full-service advertising agency located in Jacksonville, Florida offering marketing communications, Web site design, and public relations solutions.

Visit their website www.rls-group.com

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Meeting on Proposed Interstate 95/Overland Bridge Noise Walls project

The Florida Department of Transportation invites you to attend a public hearing to discuss the proposed Interstate 95/Overland Bridge Noise Walls project in Duval County. This hearing will be held Thursday, May 13, 2010, at 6:30 p.m., at the Florida Department of Transportation Training Facility, 2198 Edison Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida.

Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. to allow you time to review and discuss the exhibits and have your questions answered by one of our staff. The formal portion of the public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an audio/visual presentation followed by an opportunity for public comment. It is the policy
of the Florida Department of Transportation’s District Two to prohibit materials and/or exhibits in our public workshops, meetings and hearings that are not the property of the Department. Therefore, no outside party will be allowed to display or hand out materials in any of these events.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) previously conducted a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study to analyze the impacts of replacing the I-95 Overland Bridge. The study’s limits began on I-95 at San Diego Road and extended northwest to Palm Avenue. A traffic noise evaluation was included in the PD&E Study and noise barriers were evaluated to reduce traffic noise levels at affected residential areas. For the PD&E phase evaluation, FDOT
determined that residential communities bordering Interstate 95, within the project limits, would be affected by the project and that consideration of noise barriers is warranted.

The following is the general locations of the proposed barriers:


·I-95 southbound (western side) from south of San Diego Road to the vicinity of Merrill Avenue.

·I-95 northbound (eastern side) from south of San Diego Road to the vicinity of York Street.

FDOT is seeking input from you, as a property owner, to verify your support for or opposition to the construction of noise barriers within the FDOT’s right of way adjacent to your property. The final decision to construct a noise barrier will be dependent upon the support or opposition provided by the
affected adjacent property owners.

As of April 22, 2010, proposed plans for the noise walls will be available for inspection and review during normal business hours at the San Marco Public, 1513 LaSalle Street, Jacksonville and the Florida Department of Transportation Urban Office, 2198 Edison Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida.

This hearing is being conducted to inform the public of the project and afford the public the opportunity to express views concerning the location, conceptual design and social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements and in accordance with Federal Executive Orders 11990 and 11988.

Those who wish to submit written statements may do so at the hearing or mail them to the address below no later than June 2, 2010. All comments received by June 2, 2010, will become part of the public hearing record.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Mr.Donald Dankert at the number below at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing.

All interested persons are invited to attend this public hearing to review and discuss this important transportation improvement project. If you need project information or if you have any questions please contact:

Mr. Donald Dankert
Florida Department of Transportation
1109 S. Marion Avenue, MS 2007
Lake City, FL 32025-5874
1-800-749-2967 or
(386) 961-7791
Donald.dankert@dot.state.fl.us

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Overland Bridge Project to Take All and Parts of Many St. Nicholas Properties

Overland Bridge project to take all and parts of many St. Nicholas properties

By Susanna P. Barton

The state Department of Transportation’s eminent domain claims in St. Nicholas and San Marco reach further than the parking lot of The Doll House.

Take a drive with St. Nicholas attorney Fred Iassac, and it becomes clear just how extensive the impact of the FDOT’s project really is in the neighborhood.

According to the most recent version of the I-95 Overland Bridge replacement plan, 56 residences, six business and two churches will be impacted by the project. FDOT can take property via eminent domain it needs for a big project like the Overland Bridge replacement because it can show that it needs the property for a public purpose. A condemning authority like the FDOT must show it provided just compensation, looked at alternative sites, that it is being done in good faith and there is a necessity to get the land it needs.

Isaac and other attorneys already are working with property owners in the area to make sure they are receiving just compensation for their land or buildings. The FDOT is required to pay for an engineering report, a real estate appraisal and attorney fees under state law. “They let you hire a lawyer, an engineer and appraiser — because the constitution mandates landowners get full compensation,” Isaac said.
Whether that signals good news or bad news for local property owners in a down real estate setting changes client to client, he said. Some property owners who have lived in their house for decades and had no thoughts of leaving, are upset. Property owners who are ready to move or reinvest their real estate dollars, are thrilled.

During a recent driving tour, Isaac points out flagged stakes indicating portions of various properties abutting I- 95 that will be taken by the FDOT through eminent domain. He drives slowly by commercial properties where pieces will be taken — sometimes indicating it’s the whole thing, other times showing how the FDOT just needs a sliver.

Familiar properties impacted include longtime business names like O’Steen Volvo, which will have to sell 50 feet on the back end of their property, according to Isaac. For that business, the FDOT’s claim means a lost sign, display and a much smaller facility.

The Public Storage next door will have to forfeit two buildings at the back of its property. VAB Collision will be gone altogether — made into Pond F along with Doll House and a nearby beauty salon. Baptist will lose some of its parking lot along I-95 and the old railroad tracks. And Tidbits will have significantly less parking when construction is complete. Customers will no longer be able to park along the interstate wall as they have in the past.

All this to make way for a major transportation construction project in San Marco. It is necessary because the I-95 faces structural deterioration. To save costs and time, the existing bridge will be replaced with two smaller bridge sections and a filled earth section.
Does anyone ever win? Get to keep their property and thumb their nose at the state?
“That threshold is extremely low, maybe one tenth of one percent of cases are defeated,” Isaac said. “In urban areas it’s even less likely.”

What is staying are two relatively unknown neighborhood treasures: Jerusalem Baptist Cemetery, a charming old cemetery near Southampton, and the nearby public playground atMarjenhoff Park. They’ll stay.

And those who win may just be the property owners who get to stay. New access points to I-95 from St. Nicholas will provide better ways to get to the neighborhood.

And that’s always good for business.

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Restaurant to Relocate

Greg LeBlanc owns Tidbits, a favorite lunch spot in San Marco. His restaurant has sat on the corner of Hendricks Avenue and Louisa Street since 1985. But it won’t be here much longer.

“It’s kind of forcing us to do something,” said LeBlanc.

The Overland Bridge project will wipe out what little parking he has. As a result, Tidbits has to move.

LeBlanc is taking the news well. He said, “Well, it is what it is. The Department of Transportation is bigger than us. We’re gonna use this as an opportunity to relocate the business.”

He’s not the only one having to relocate. The DOT has started sending out notices to business owners and to homeowners living near Southampton Road. Rebuilding that part of I-95 could affect their property.

DOT spokesman, Mike Goldman, says the stretch of road is old and it needs to be replaced.

“It’s a deteriorating structure,” said Goldman. “Right now, it’s safe. But I’m not certain we can make that statement 10 or 15 years from now.”

Construction won’t start until 2012. LeBlanc says that gives him plenty of time to find a new location. And he says he’s not angry about the move. In fact, it’s just the opposite. He says he plans to make Tibits bigger and better, still serving the same food that’s kept customers coming back for decades.

“I’m not going out of business. I’ve already told the DOT they’re not putting me out of business,” said LeBlanc.

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Construction Project

The $224 million dollar project is expected to get underway in 2012. The FDOT wants to expand and rebuild a 2-mile stretch of the interstate between the Fuller Warren Bridge and San Diego Road.

The Overland Bridge is part of this project and spans Hendricks, Kings and Montana Avenues in the southbank area of downtown.

The project could displace as many as 35 homeowners.

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