Friday, July 15, 2016

EMERALD NECKLACE OF PARKS: AMCD Moving Toward Approving New St. Aug Beach Park

Good news. The Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission of St. Johns County met July 14th and I nudged them into giving its 2.5 acre former HQ property, certified environmentally safe in 2009, as a park for St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County residents.

Dodgy AMCD Board member Vivian Browning and wanted to sell the land to developers for eight years, obtaining a bogus $750,000 appraisal for land without county water or sewer service, based on the false premise it could be sold to a business, when there is a "right of reverter" prohibiting anything put a public use, with the land reverting back to the original grantor, the City of St. Augustine, if it is not used for a public use.

The original sales price: $6250.

Vivian Browning, Vilano Beach Realtor® whom the FBI has been investigating for several years, wanted to make a profit more than 120 times the original sales price, which I consider to be a sin, a crime and a tort.  Why would one local government "sell" land to another local government -- as General Patton said, "why pay for the same real estate twice?"

Looks like that;s not happening.  We will know more after August 11 AMCD meeting.

Thanks to  citizen Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr. for suggesting the adaptive reuse for a 2.5 acre park, which could include picnic tables under ancient oak trees, children's indoor after-school activities, indoor basketball, a science lab and small science and civil rights museum. Mr. Reynolds was once called "someone" by The St. Augustine Record, which avidly eschews quoting residents speaking at public meetings, because, well, why?

Anastasia Mosquito Control District board nearing decision on sale of mosquito control property
Posted: July 15, 2016 - 11:44pm | Updated: July 16, 2016 - 6:55am

Anastasia Mosquito Control District board commissioners are hashing out the future of the former headquarters property, and they want more information from local governments by August.

Thursday’s district board meeting marked the latest of multiple discussions on the future of about 2.5 acres at 500 Old Beach Road on Anastasia Island. District commissioners said they want more information from local government agencies before moving forward.

Commissioners voted unanimously, 3-0, to move the discussion and decision to the August meeting. Two of the commissioners were not at the meeting, Janice Bequette and Catherine Brandhorst.

While a private sale hasn’t been ruled out, commissioners voiced support for selling the property to another government agency for public benefit. The future of the property is influenced by a reverter clause with the city of St. Augustine, which stipulates that the land must be used for a public purpose by a government agency, officials said. If a sale to a private entity is attempted, the city of St. Augustine would regain control of the property.

The land, which is near State Road A1A and State Road 312, served as the headquarters of the district until they built and moved into a new facility on EOC Drive off County Road 208 near State Road 16.

The Anastasia Mosquito Control District paid $6,250 to the city in the 1970s for 2.5 acres, according to city of St. Augustine records.

“I want this property to serve the public just like it served all those years since 1972,” said District board Chair Gary Howell.

Officials from the district and the city of St. Augustine recently discussed the reverter clause.

City Manager John Regan said on Friday that the issue of the property’s future will be on a City Commission agenda at some point, but no date is set. Also, he said he’s still researching the issue and no decision has been made.

Mosquito district Commissioner Vivian Browning said she believes the city needs to help solve the issue.

“I do think the reverter clause needs to be taken off the property,” she said.

Mosquito district commission Jeanne Moeller said she’d like to see St. Augustine officials make a decision soon.

“What I would like to see is that the city come up with some decision in time for our Aug. 11 meeting because … that property is still costing us money,” Moeller said.

Moeller said the revenue from a sale could affect the district’s millage rate, which is up for a final vote in September.

Browning also asked for officials representing the district to see if St. Johns County has an interest in the property because it’s in the county’s jurisdiction.

St. Augustine Beach officials have shown interest in the property.

Though he didn’t suggest the beach buy the property, Beach Commissioner Gary Snodgrass said in June that he thought the city needed to “take a look at providing a park environment for the children of our city,” according to a previous St. Augustine Record report.

At the commission’s direction, City of St. Augustine Beach Manager Max Royle sent an email to mosquito control district Director Rui-De Xue, asking the board to delay a decision on the matter until the beach, St. Augustine and county officials have discussed the issue.

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