First Amendment hero Warren Celli, prevailing plaintiff in Celli v. City of St. Augustine, responded in an e-mail:Neighbors,Over the next few days I will offer a number of reasons for why the Planning & Zoning Board (PZB) should not rezone the Barnacle Bill’s restaurant property from Historic Preservation District 5 (HP-5) to Planned Unit Development (PUD) for San Marco Hotel valet parking. This is the first of the series.Reason #1: It is vital to our city’s future to not rezone property zoned for historic preservation without an overwhelmingly compelling reason to do so.Why is that, you may ask?Well, because we are the nation’s oldest continuously occupied city. OUR BRAND IS OUR HISTORY. This is what makes St Augustine special. This is why people come here to visit.And this is why the five Historic Preservation Zoning Districts were created.Decades ago city leaders understood that if they did not institutionalize strong protections for certain parts of the city, then time and “progress” would eventually destroy what was left of our city’s history. So they created the Historic Preservation Zoning Districts to protect that history and retain as much authenticity as we had left.Makes sense, doesn’t it?Now, a developer claims he cannot build an underground garage for a hotel he received permission to build eleven years ago. So, he is asking for approximately six percent of the HP-5 district to be rezoned from HP-5 to PUD for his valet parking lot.As you can see in the diagram below, when this new six percent is added to the almost 15% that was carved out of HP-5 for his hotel, about ONE FIFTH of HP-5 will have been eliminated, and with it the protections that HP zoning affords to the HP-5 district itself AND its role as a buffer to commercial encroachment into the adjacent North City and Abbott Tract National Register Historic Districts.Simply put, the Historic Preservation Zoning Districts are the foundation upon which rests our city’s claim to historical significance. They should not be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey for the benefit and profit of a developer. Any rezoning from HP to PUD (or anything else) should be done only for the most compelling of reasons. Sorry, hotel valet parking just doesn't cut it.Preview of Reason #2: The proposed rezoning violates the requirements of the city’s Comprehensive Plan 2030.Stay tuned (and no waiting to binge read...)!On behalf of St Augustine Residents Count,Lee Geanuleas
Lee said, "Why is that, you may ask?
Well, because we are the nation’s oldest continuously occupied city. OUR BRAND IS OUR HISTORY. This is what makes St Augustine special. This is why people come here to visit. "
Lee, as one who is totally fed up with gangster city hijacking tourism this rationale is pure baloneyspeak! Are your true colors being revealed here or have you just bought into the excessive Saint Augustine Wreckit corporate Big Tourism propaganda?
Many of us want to conserve our history because we value it solely for what it is. We value it for the peace and serenity that it provides us as a community. We value it because it allows us to preserve, study, and consider the sins of our past and thereby make amends and set a new direction for us all to live harmoniously with one another. Our long and rich and sometimes sordid history also allows us to set an example to the rest of the world by working towards a fair and measured redemption in our local human interactions. To be a true beacon of hope for a peaceful brighter future.
That is what makes Saint Augustine special Lee.
We resent the corporate baloneyspeak that offensively depersonalizes us all and labels us and our history as an effing BRAND!
We resent our real specialness being hijacked and our buildings being torn down and eliminated for gangster Big Tourism's CUSTOMERS — they are not "visitors" Lee — they are customers!
We resent being turned into a state alcohol and tobacco cartel boisterous, noisy, criminal infested joint!
We resent the extreme divisiveness that gangster tourism has visited upon our once beautiful city!
I suggest you rewrite and resend this first missive Lee.
It has ZERO appeal to me and many other residents I am sure.
Regards, and thanks for all that you do.
On behalf of Intentionally Made Homeless and Oppressed Residents Everywhere Count.
cc Ed Slavin