16-story Park Lane condominiums tower over the St. Johns
River — it’s been this way for nearly 100 years, but now
there’s a story of discontent among some residents.
“I don’t feel safe at all,” says Cinda Sherman of the
historic building that is one of the oldest high high-rises
In an Action News Jax
investigation, Action News Jax Ben Becker discovered that
the City of Jacksonville’s Fire Marshal slapped the Park
Lane condo with two major fire code violations in November
The first is “the absence of sprinkler heads in each
individual unit” that were supposed to be installed by Dec.
31, 2019,” and the second is ”the existence of a dead end on
the terrace” that was created with the “removal of the
fence” that is intended to keep people from exiting the
building the wrong way in case of an emergency.
Sherman lives next to the terrace and says it’s not only a
safety issue, but it’s become a party zone with the fence
“One night I come out
and this guy has one hand down his pants and a cocktail and
a cigarette in his other hand outside my living room
window,” says Sherman.
Sherman sent pictures of a person on the terrace railing
with what appears to be a drink in their hand and a video of
a woman who spots a camera and begins twerking in front of
Sherman took Becker up the elevator, so he could press
members of the Homeowner’s Association board for answers,
but there was no answer at the door of the board president
or the HOA attorney.
The HOA eventually did provide Becker with USPS tracking
records that show it never received the letter from the fire
marshal that says “no access to delivery location” on both
Nov. 8 and Dec. 18.
The HOA also sent a letter to the fire marshal on Jan. 28
stating it became aware of the Notice of Violation “through
a third party,” going on to say, “the Association is
currently reviewing the notice and will respond.”
“How serious are these issues?” Becker asked Jacksonville
Fire Union President Randy Wyse. “Anytime you are out of
code that can be a serious issue,” said Wyse.
The Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Department told Becker that
since 2015, they “have responded to 10 calls there in that
period of time that could be fire-related. Nine were fire
alarms, one was an investigation for a sparking wire. There
have been zero fires at that address in that time frame.”
Citywide, structure fires have been increasing. JFRD says it
responded to 49 in January 2022, more than 50% above its
Wyse says a building like the Park Lane poses a unique
“We’re behind the eight ball as it relates to a high rise
fire anyway getting equipment and firefighters up,” says
As for the violations, Sherman says safety first.
“Rules are there for a reason,” says Sherman. “Safety codes
are designed for a reason to save lives.”
Becker emailed JFRD and asked if a condemnation order been
issued, what options do they have and what JFRD is intending
to do since there has not been a correction of the
situation. JFRD responded by saying, “We are currently in
some gray area and the legal team will need to handle to
make sure everything is within the law,” adding that the
violations are in the process of being turned over to the
Office of General Counsel.
In August 2021, Sherman and another resident filed a lawsuit
against the HOA over the fence issue. The Association says
it can’t comment on that specific issue due to pending