Saturday, April 09, 2016

Protect A1A Scenic Coastal Highway: Oppose Mini-Warehouse at SR 312 & A1A on Monday, April 11, 2016 at 5 PM City Commission Meeting

Robotic Developer Lawyer ELLEN AVERY-SMITH, ROGERS TOWERS corporate law firm partner, will attempt to appeal from 5-2 PZB vote against mini-storage warehouse at SR312 and A1A, on A1A Scenic Coastal Highway

Come speak out on Monday, April 11, 2016 at St. Augustine City Commission and support Lion's Gate neighbors in their efforts to protect public safety from eighteen-wheelers at what mini-warehouse grifter-developers wish to expand. And ask, "Who are all of the beneficial owners of the Limited Liability Company (LLC) that is proposing this project, represented by the rebarbative ROGESS TOWERS law firm?

February 2, 2016 saw yet another victory for safety, neighborhood activists and preservation of Our Town, preventing expansion with a three story building 35 feet tall of a use by exception for a mini-storage warehouse at the southern entrance to the City of St. Augustine at SR 312 AND U.S. Route A1A.

In 1999, an ugly warehouse was allowed to be built at the southern gateway to St. Augustine on Anastasia Island.

City Commissioners voted 3-2 to reverse the Planning and Zoning Board, with the understanding no more warehouses would be built on the remainder of the property. The property owner, a dodgy LLC, subdivided the property in December 2015, demanding to build new ugly warehouses 35 feet tall.

US Route A1A is now a Scenic Coastal Highway and it has consequences -- the vote was 5-2 against

A "BIG BOX" as former PZB Chair and City Commission candidate John Valdes (himself a builder, who favored the DOW PUD), convincingly testified,.

PZB member Carl Blow, himself a developer, blew the whistle, producing a photo exposing an eighteen wheeler tractor trailer truck backing into the mini-storage warehouse. Robotic ROGERS TOWERS lawyer attempted feebly to object, but neighbors confirmed that eighteen wheelers frequently visit the site, delivering or picking up furniture or other items from storage units.

PZB member Jerry Dixon, an architect, led the charge: he was PZB chair when PZB voted against the mini-storage complex in 1998, only to be overruled by City Commissioners under then-Mayor LEN WEEKS.

The vote was 5-2, with Messrs. Dixon and Blow joined by Sarah Ryan, Deltra Long and Cathy Brown.   Inexplicably, there were two votes against the weight of the evidence -- by PZB Chair Sue Agrest (Lincolnville neighborhood activist and wife of a retired lawyer for organized crime figures, Lou Agresta) and PZB Vice Chair Matthew Shaffer (a realtor active in protecting the rights of Nelmar Terrace and Fullerwood neighbors against the depredations of proposed eminent domain legislation for 7-Eleven). Both fell for the ROGERS TOWERS old saw, the "George McClure argument" (called blackmail by Folio Weekly in 2007), that the developer could put something worse there.

Neighbors were unimpressed -- what could be worse than eighteen wheelers and a blighted lighted operation next door to the Lion's Gate community, a gated community that is now fully built out.

I joined Mr. Valdes and Lion's Gate neighbors in testifying against the project.

(more later)

PZB rejects miniwarehouse proposal at A1A-312 corner
Posted: February 2, 2016 - 11:35pm | Updated: February 3, 2016 - 4:56am


Concerns over traffic and aesthetics at one of the major intersections of St. Augustine led the city Planning and Zoning Board to reject a proposal for a three-story, 78,000-square-foot storage unit building at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board was looking at an application by property owners Beemer and Associates, XV, LC, to build a miniwarehouse — better known as a self-storage facility — at the corner of State Road 312 and State Road A1A. The property is on an outparcel that is adjacent to and owned by the same developer that operates the Atlantic Self Storage complex that currently sits at the intersection.

Access to the outparcel requires using the current entrance/exit for Atlantic Self Storage on S.R. A1A, which is about 200 feet from the traffic signal at S.R. 312.

With a vote of 5-2, the board decided that adding additional traffic there created a dangerous situation. There was great concern about large trucks getting into the facility, especially considering drivers headed northbound on S.R. A1A have to make a U-turn near the entrance to the Lions Gate subdivision to enter the property.

PZB member Carl Blow even presented a photo of a semi-trailer unsuccessfully navigating the turnaround there.

Jerry Dixon was perhaps the most vocal board member in opposition to the proposal. He stated several times during the hearing, which lasted more than two hours, how important it was to consider the safety issues and the interests of the residents of Lions Gate.

“This is the 7-Eleven for the Lions Gate residents,” said Dixon, referring to the failed attempt to develop a gas station at the May Street-San Marco Avenue intersection.

“I feel that truck traffic ... is a health and safety issue for the community. I’m opposed to it for that reason. I’m opposed to it because the community’s neighborhood (is against it). That’s what we’re here for.”

The local residents are decidedly against the project for several reasons. In addition to the general traffic concerns, the Lions Gate residents are worried about increased construction traffic, light pollution, the scale of the project and other issues.

“We continue to remain opposed to further development of the property in question,” said Carol Lederman, president of the Lions Gate Homeowners Association. “Having a building of that size and height will potentially affect our property values.

“We are most concerned, however, about the impact this proposed expansion will have on the city of St. Augustine. A three-story, 35-foot-high building will not complement the intersection.”

Representatives for the project said because of the congestion at the intersection, there is little else that fits. The new storage building is expected to generate about 25 additional daily trips, according to attorney Ellen Avery-Smith.

Avery-Smith said because the land is zoned Commercial Medium-1, it could be used for many more intensive uses such as a hotel, restaurant or office building without any review by the PZB. The zoning allows miniwarehouses as a use by exception, which means it’s allowed only if the PZB approves the details of the project.

The applicants also pointed out that they aren’t seeking any variances or waivers.

Randall Whitfield, vice president of property management/development company Ash Properties, said the additional storage facility is simply the use that works best for the site.

“We have tried diligently to put other uses there,” he said. “It (storage) is a good fit. We’re generating less traffic; the use is needed. It works out that storage is the perfect mix for that (site). I think we’ve come up with something that would be beneficial to the community and addresses your concerns.”

While most PZB members disagreed, Matthew Shaffer and Sue Agresta voted in favor of the storage facility proposal.

“When you factor in the low-intensity use, I think this is less objectionable to what things could happen,” Shaffer said.

Blow suggested that a scaled-down building might be more palatable. “My issue is the size of the building and what it’s going to look like,” Blow said.

After the meeting, Whitfield said he wasn’t sure whether ownership (sic) would appeal the decision to the City Commission or amend the proposal in any way if they do appeal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that pic of Ellen Avery Smith reminds me of a film from long ago called the Stepford Wives