Tuesday, October 06, 2015

St. Augustine Beach commissioners reject cellphone tower proposal

St. Augustine Beach commissioners reject cellphone tower proposal
Posted: October 5, 2015 - 11:32pm
St. Augustine Record
St. Augustine Beach commissioners unanimously voted Monday night to deny a proposal for a cellphone tower in Hammock Dunes Park.
“I’m not interested in it; it’s zoned for park land, and I don’t wish to change it,” said St. Augustine Beach Mayor Andrea Samuels.
It’s a sentiment the rest of the commission echoed.
“I agree with you, mayor,” was heard from the four commissioners.
Samuels added: “We weren’t even going to consider it.”
The applicant for the proposal, Tim O’Shaughnessy, wanted to build a 150-foot “camouflage cell tower” on the property, which is on A1A Beach Boulevard between the Anastasia Plaza shopping center and the Whispering Oaks Subdivision.
The 6.1-acre park was purchased in 2005 for $2.5 million. It is zoned as park and recreation, and would have required a land use change if the proposal was approved.
The St. Augustine Beach code also says cellphone towers require a conditional use permit in commercial districts. A tower must be 300 feet away from residential buildings, according to the code.
O’Shaughnessy, who owns CLQ, a Winter Park-based company, did not attend Monday night’s meeting. But in a proposal written to the commission, he said benefits of the cell tower are the city paying off the property and good cell coverage.
But a study to determine a need for the tower was never provided, said Doug Burnett, city attorney.
This was not the first time a builder has been interested in Hammock Dunes Park.
In 2011, Regency Centers, the company that owns Anastasia Plaza, offered to buy the land to build a new Publix.
The company offered to pay $1.2 million in cash plus $300,000 paid over three years to be used to develop Hammock Dunes Park.
But a year later, the Jacksonville-based company announced it was no longer interested in the project, citing inability to get stakeholder support.
Other items on Monday night’s agenda included the renewal of the contract with St. Johns Law Group to retain the services of Burnett and the review of changes proposed to the solid waste service.

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