Saturday, July 15, 2017


Disgraced ex-Mayor JOE BOLES and disgraced former St. Augustine City Manager BILL HARRISS, since mid-2010 a key aide to Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, mounted a comeback for developer KANTI PATEL, helping euchre City Commissioners into approving a controversial MARRIOTT RENAISSANCE with surface parking in historic preservation district HP-5, instead of the previously approved underground parking, which PATEL wants to delete.
BOLES and ex-Mayor LEN WEEKS were exposed by Folio Weekly for their no-bid, below market rate lease for 81 St. George Street.

HARRISS was most noted for dumping a landfill in a lake.

Flexing their muscle on behalf of developers and the tourism industry, ex-Mayor JOE BOLES and ex-City "Manager" WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, et al.  and their pals won one July 10.

On the Sunday morning before the vote, HARRISS wrote Commissioner Roxanne Horvath, an architect who previously did work for PATEL on the Bayfront Hilton:

Efforts to obtain comment from HARRISS, HORVATH and City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. were unavailing.

Contemplate the contours of HARRISS' emotional epistle on Sunday morning:. He's "bother[ing} HORVATH: Vote for KANTI PATEL's project because I said so, because any other vote would make it "appear" that the unnnamed "bullies know what they are talking about."   HARRISS, perhaps the biggest bully in Our Town, engages in projection, saying "Don't let the 'clamor of the crowd' intimidate (sic) you from making the decision you know is right."

Corpulent campaign fundraiser-bagman BILL HARRISS has cajones and chutzpa, writing a City Commissioner a text message on a Sunday morning, essentially giving her orders at the eleventh hour, sixteen hours before a City Commission meeting, in a text message he probably thought would never see the light of day.

Efforts to obtain other ex parte contacts and other HARRISS text messages are ongoing.

The system is rigged.

Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE, recent recipient of the Adelaide Sanchez Award for historic preservation, bailed. She did not vote on the Planned Unit Development for the too-big MARRIOTT RENAISSANCE proposed for San Marco and Castillo.  Commissioner SIKES-KLINE took a walk. Without public explanation, Commissioner SIKES-KLINE alleged an "emergency,"  abruptly leaving after whispering to two colleagues. Days later, rhe reason was given as her stepfather's heart attack.

Fair enough.

May he have a speedy recovery.

But Florida law requires that she vote.  

The hearing should have been continued until she could attend.   Bad call by the Commissioners and their learned counsel, ISABELLE LOPEZ.

NANCY SIKES-KLINE once dated Record Opinion & Fishing Editor JAMES SUTTON; the Record was lax in inquiring about why SIKES-KLINE left early. Florida Statute 286.012 provides as follows:

  • "No member of any state, county, or municipal governmental board, commission, or agency who is present at any meeting of any such body at which an official decision, ruling, or other official act is to be taken or adopted may abstain from voting in regard to any such decision, ruling, or act; and a vote shall be recorded or counted for each such member present, except when, with respect to any such member, there is, or appears to be, a possible conflict of interest under the provisions of s. 112.311, s. 112.313, or s. 112.3143. In such cases, said member shall comply with the disclosure requirements of s. 112.3143."  

Rather than heeding my suggestion about postponing the vote, developer-driven Commissioners plowed right ahead.  No one even discussed the suggestion . Did this violate F.S. 286.012?

One Statesman and Three Blind Mice:  The presence in the room of ex-Mayor JOE BOLES perhaps helped deter three City Commissioners from speaking their minds.  BOLES helped euchre votes from the three, who utterly failed to do their jobs without fear or favor.  Commissioners LEANNA SOPHIA AMARU FREEMAN, ROXANNE HORVATH and Vice Mayor TODD DAVID NEVILLE lacked independence, sophistication and compassion, or insight into the future.  Color them colorless, dull Chamber of Commerce satraps, without a clue as to what they're supposed to do.  Hick Hacks.  Why, did you know that BOLES performed the wedding ceremony for ODD TODD et ux?

Why would anyone say, "The system worked?"  Those were the words of the pathetic petulant ukase of the editorial board of The St. Augustine Record, in editorial (below), the same board that endorsed DONALD JOHN TRUMP and Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR in the 2016 election, and has never written one intelligent word about SHOAR's ongoing coverup of the Michelle O'Connell case.

No, the system is broken.

Overlooked by the St. Augustine Record's Opinion and Fishing Editor JIM SUTTON and the Record's developer-driven Editorial Board:

1.  Maladroit City staff presented inaccurate numbers on parking needs, showing "acalculia," an inability to perform mathematical functions, failing to consider the actual number of square feet in the application architectural drawings.  Mayor Shaver has questioned these numbers at earlier meetings, without any correction by City staff or any interest by fellow Commissioners.

2.   City Hall lacks a welcoming spirit.  In yet another likely ADA violation, some 60 people, including elders and disabled, were forced to wait outside in the rain in the covered part of the courtyard amidst rain and puddles, with only tiny chairs and an old television set.  Some 60 people  were intentionally excluded from the Alcazar meeting room by the feckless City staff's longstanding and continuing refusal to remove large tables at the back of the room and restore chairs for the public.  Some one dozen hearing witnesses left.  Manipulating fire code requirements, some 60 chairs were removed circa 2007-2008, under the malfeasant administration of HARRISS.  HARRISS spent thousands of dollars in unneeded large cushy chairs for the directors, sitting at the back of the room, who sit at five or six high school cafeteria tables like so many unsmiling aspiring gargoyles. Result: fewer chairs are allowed in the room under fire code.  Sounds slick as a mashed potato sandwich with the crust cut off.  This is how they make people wait outside in the rain, as many leave without testifying.  The "system" stinks.  We have WILLIAM B. HARRISS a/k/a "WILL HARASS" to thank for this unctuous disrespectful treatment of residents, never covered by the Record, even when it marred Mayor Nancy Shaver's December 1, 2014 inauguration by Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince (after which ceremony BOLES refused to shake Mayor Shaver's hand).

3.  Draconian procedural rules are inflicted.  These rules date back to the corrupt HARRISS regime, including illegal orders not to applaud, even at the general public comment earlier in the meeting.  explanation.  No public comment was allowed at the first "public hearing," pursuant to odd HARRISS-era procedural rules making St. Augustine unique among local jurisdictions in banning first public hearing public comment. These rules were adopted under the HARRISS regime and never modified.  The substance of public comment at the May 22, 2017 appeal hearing is not in the record, showing only names of those speaking for and against -- a breach of the duty to keep accurate minutes, recently inflicted by embattled City Hall denizens (previously inflicted at St. Augustine Beach, which later relented).

4. Without recording them on videotape or providing copies of them for the record, emotional ex parte and hearing room arguments were made by KANTI PATEL and other campaign contributors to Commissioners.  Only Mayor Nancy Shaver refuses to meet with zoning applicants.  I applaud her.

5. With no cross-examination, there was oodles of oozing oleaginous self-serving testimony by PATEL's louche lapdogs, including BOLES, the Chamber of Commerce, the Visitor and Convention Bureau, putative "competitors" (or are they investors?),  local banker, prospective construction contractors, allied business owners and others with no cross-examination of their bona fides -- people who know not that they know not that they know not, and do not give a hoot in Hades as to Grove Street and neighbor concerns..  VCB, taxpayer-funded, refuses to provide e-mails on its flippant testimony at prior meetings in support of PATEL.

6.  A lawyer from an influential firm tight with BOLES, was in control of the hearing.  Witnesses were only sworn in after I passed a note -- intended for the Mayor -- intercepted by the City Attorney and City Manager.  PATEL's mendacious mouthpiece, ST. JOHNS LAW GROUP attorney JAMES GEORGE WHITEHOUSE did not raise his hand and swear an oath to tell the truth, and proceeded without interruption to make factual statements not in the record, e.g., about nonexistent architectural plans for a "tunnel."

7. Commissioners repeatedly showed disdain and disrespect and interrupted Mayor Nancy Shaver.

8. Friends and recipients of campaign contributions from KANTI PATEL, et al., four cowed Commissioners showed soft-headed Babbitt-like bias for "KANTI" and for permissively allowing "KANTI" to build a new structure, insouciant to Grove Street and other neighbors and the purpose of HP-5.  Commissioner ROXANNE HORVATH, an architect, has done work on designing PATEL's Bayfront Hilton.

9. Other than the one inculpatory HARRISS-HORVATH smoking gun text message, Commissioners did not make available any of their e-mails and other records of their admitted ex parte contacts.  As of July 15, 2017 City staff was attempting to extort more than $426 to search for documents that were required to be disclosed July 10, 2017.  How delightfully revealing.

10. Multiple witnesses with the same surname as the applicant testified, without disclosing the names of their businesses or their family relationships, in some cases.

11.  City Attorney, ISABELLE CHRISTINE LOPEZ, has been of little help to PZB members and Commissioners on the issue, failing to answer questions raised by citizens with any memoranda or legal analysis, e.g., on the inaccurate data presented by the City staff and PATEL   Unengaged incompetent LOPEZ might as well have had a sign on her forehead, stating "I'd rather be sailing."  The corpulent, corporativist City Attorney is a former developer lawyer, and a former office colleague and law school classmate of developer-coddling St. Johns County Attorney PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK.

12.  Four unprepared, ill-advised, supine, somnolent, somnambulistic City Commissioners never followed up on  citizen questions, failing to inquire about why architect Jerry Dixon never spoke at any meetings on the modification of his plan for underground parking.  The evidentiary presumption about uncalled witnesses was invoked (by me) repeatedly at meetings since January 3, 2017, but never explained by louche LOPEZ.  Unanswered questions included, who are the beneficial owners of the project -- who are KANTI PATEL's investors?  Do they include witnesses at the hearing who did not disclose their relationships?  

13. Commissioners NEVILLE, HORVATH, SIKES-KLINE and FREEMAN are a disgrace to the human race.  It's time for them to go home.  In 2018,  the seats currently encumbered by vapid Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE and vicious, vituperative Vice Mayor "ODD TODD" NEVILLE are up for election -- will they retire or shall we defeat them, with great vigor?

What do you reckon?

Circa 2005-2007, then-Commissioner SUSAN BURK openly admitted the Establishment Agenda: she/they wanted to make St. Augustine like Boca Raton.  When she ran for Commission in 2008, LEANNA FREEMAN said she agreed with BURK on everything.  The two were then law partners and are again sharing a law office, post-Matthew.

"St. Johns Law Group employees and spouses enjoyed a unique experience atop the Lightner Museum for dinner served by the [then-]Mayor [of St. Augustine, JOE BOLES], his wife and city staff. The dinner was bid on during a silent auction at the Mayors Lighting Gala in November of 2009. It was a fun filled evening for a good cause. All proceeds were used to benefit the St. Francis House."


"The system worked?"  This is the verdict of an insipid editorial, assumedly written by JAMES SUTTON, a cynical  "journalist" whose mentor was Flagler College VP and racist Record ex-publisher A.H. "HOPPY" TEBEAULT, JR., who often censored The Gargoyle, the student newspaper that SUTTON edited.  SUTTON is an Establishment compromised "journalist," one who may owe an eternal debt of gratitude and loyalty to Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA for going easy on his reckless driving arrest, an apparent DUI not charged as such.

Yes, SUTTON allegedly hit a street light and a mailbox and had a witness on his windshield when he was busted for hit-and-run reckless driving, admittedly high on Ambien and alcohol.  This same unenlightened St. Augustine Record Opinion & Fishing Editor who rejected my column on Sheriff SHOAR and needed reforms, who has not uttered a peep about Justice for Michelle O'Connell.  SUTTON lacks critical thinking skills much of the time.  But "the system worked" for JIM SUTTON when he apparently drove DUI in corrupt St. Johns County.

In the words of the FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt (played by Hal Holbrook in All the President's Men):

"I hate shallowness."

"Follow the money."

Money.  That's possibly why secretive, sneaky former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS sent a text message to a City Commissioner at 11:01 on Sunday, July 9, 2017 -- developers fund local Republican campaigns.

They're addicted to it, including HARRISS's former subordinate and current boss, Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR."

$HOAR/HOAR and arachnid apparatchik WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, louche lapdog for developers, appears to be still calling the shots in the itty-bitty-city on the Matanzas Bay and Sebastian River, as rude and scheming a sebaceous a fat-ass bumptious bully-bureaucrat as ever made a chair squeak.

This is the same mean 'ole man who plotted to violate the rights of artists and musicians on our streets.  This is the same pompous prima donna primate who threatened me, after my first City Commission meeting, on April 11 2005, "I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct."  This was HARRISS' hick hack way of responding to my questioning City annexations diluting minority voting strength, 1964-2005 -- Fifteenth Amendment civil rights violations -- halted afterwards. (On November 20, 2013, Mayor JOE BOLES told the County Commission in a joint meeting there would be no further residential annexations -- yes, my friends, invoking our Fifteenth Amendment worked.)


To TRUMP-loving, Sheriff-covering, developer coddling Record Fishing and Opinion Editor, JIM SUTTON, "just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it!"

Here's JIM SUTTON's ukase, followed by the Record's recent coverage:

Record Opinion & Fishing Editor JAMES SUTTON
Posted July 13, 2017 12:02 am
St. Augustine Record editorial
Patel hotel shows the system works

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Kanti Patel will build his San Marco Hotel. The city commission voted 3-1 Monday night to OK the plan — which has gone through so many changes and jumped so many hurdles.

What we take away from the long process is positive.

Many neighbors will not agree. Many will.

But the process showed us a lot about our city.

The opposition to the project was a stellar example of neighborhood concern. This group dotted its I’s and crossed its T’s. It stood together and strong against what it saw as a threat to the Historic Preservation 5 district’s intent. The neighbors were informed and formidable.

Other neighbors thought the plan was an improvement over the status quo, and they are correct.

An issue that may not have gotten much press was “if not the San Marco Hotel, what?”

It is a viable question. There are any number of uses for that property under the comparatively loose parameters of HP5, as opposed to the more rigid historic districts closer to the downtown core.

It could be much worse, and history clearly demonstrates that in more than a few projects downtown that came, and thankfully went.

They chafed against neighbors and neighboring businesses. These benefitted only the those involved. They were not aimed on a trajectory of quality expansion or first-rate growth.

And that brings up another point. Developer Kanti Patel has a proven track record for three decades of improving whatever property or project with which he is involved. He listens to the community and seems ready to tweak projects to conform to the historic and artistic expectations of the most unique city in the nation.

He is not a developer from the county to the north who attempts to cram as many homes on as little property as possible, sell out the development and take the money back north. Then buy more land here and do it again — with a pocketful of zoning exceptions up his sleeve.

Bottom line, while the project doesn’t satisfy all those within in its sphere of activity, it could be so much worse.

And it’s a very good bet that the long-term (sic) city commissioners who OK’d the project had examples in mind when they voted.

We’re proud of how the process played out. Our residents were informed, engaged and upfront with their opposition and support.

The project passed (sic) a finicky Planning and Zoning Board. [NO, IT DID NOT PASS PZB -- it was REJECTED, 4-2)

It was supported by four of five commissioners. Mayor Nancy Shaver opposed it, and made valid arguments for her stance.

It all worked like it was supposed to — by law. We believe that there will be fewer opponents once the project is completed than there are today.

It’s a better project than what it replaces, and a better project than what it might have become, under existing zoning.

Well said!

I seem to recall reading in The Record the final project was rejected by Planning and Zoning, but overruled by 4 of 5 commissioners. Is that how the system is supposed to work?
When an investor buys property in St. Johns county or St. Augustine with protected zoning, that zoning should protect the neighbors. I don't care if the property is worth millions if developed. Whether it is HP, Open Rural or wetlands, that zoning is there to protect the public from a disruptive change.
HP zoning has retrictions. Everyone who buys a home in that zone knows that there are certain guidelines they must abide by, but they will be protected as well from outside intrusion. At least that is what is supposed to happen.
But too often a developer who buys land in these protected zones with a plan to make tons of money by developing a new hotel gets approved regardless of the impact to surrounding homeowners. The pattern is clear. Tourist intersts get priority over residents. All it seem to take is the "P" word, parking. It doesn't even need to be public parking for locals, it just needs to increase tourist flow. Why make promises and why have zoning if you rubber stamp every request for a change? Homeowners have to comply with rules, why don't the developers?

When an investor buys property in St. Johns county or St. Augustine with protected zoning, that zoning should protect the neighbors. I don't care if the property is worth millions if developed. Whether it is HP, Open Rural or wetlands, that zoning is there to protect the public from a disruptive change.
HP zoning has retrictions. Everyone who buys a home in that zone knows that there are certain guidelines they must abide by, but they will be protected as well from outside intrusion. At least that is what is supposed to happen.
But too often a developer who buys land in these protected zones with a plan to make tons of money by developing a new hotel gets approved regardless of the impact to surrounding homeowners. The pattern is clear. Tourist intersts get priority over residents. All it seem to take is the "P" word, parking. It doesn't even need to be public parking for locals, it just needs to increase tourist flow. Why make promises and why have zoning if you rubber stamp every request for a change? Homeowners have to comply with rules, why don't the developers?
Posted July 11, 2017 05:34 pm - Updated July 11, 2017 09:24 pm 

CHRISTINA.KELSO@STAUGUSTINE.COM The site of Barnacle Bills Seafood House at 14 W. Castillo Drive, pictured on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, has been approved for rezoning by the city to allow for the structure to be demolished and the space converted into surface parking for San Marco Hotel. The restaurant plans to relocate.

After getting rezoning approval to add surface parking, developers of the San Marco Hotel in downtown St. Augustine could move swiftly.

“It’s not something that they’re waiting to do. It should move forward in haste at this point,” James Whitehouse, attorney for property owner Kanti Patel, said Tuesday.
The City Commission voted 3-1 Monday night to approve rezoning land from HP-5 (historic preservation) and adding it to the San Marco Hotel Planned Unit Development zoning to create surface parking.
The development is required to begin by February of 2021, but it should be underway earlier than that, Whitehouse said. The next step step is to get a certificate of appropriateness this month from the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board for the parking lot design.


Mayor Nancy Shaver voted against the rezoning after questioning Whitehouse about the benefits of changing the zoning for parking. Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline was not present for the vote because she had to leave for an emergency.
The intent of the HP-5 zoning district is “to provide a mix of residential and nonresidential uses compatible with the existing historic structures and the district’s relationship with surrounding neighborhoods and traffic circulation,” according to City Code.
The San Marco Hotel project, which is expected to bring 89 hotel rooms near West Castillo Drive and San Marco Avenue, was approved in 2006 and amended in 2016.
The hotel plan had called for an underground parking garage and 114 spaces.
Because of engineering concerns about an underground garage, Patel applied to have surface parking instead, Whitehouse said. Others said the real issue was the cost of the garage, and people spoke against rezoning historic preservation land for parking.
The plan presented Monday calls for at least 160 parking space with surface parking lots and some parking underground as part of a tunnel connecting hotel and a surface parking lot.
Whitehouse said the project would provide certainty for neighbors and protect them from some other possible uses of the site under current zoning, such as restaurants and banks and offices. Some neighbors voiced support for the development.
“We really believe that this is a positive project,” Whitehouse said. “It really meets the goals of the city.”
The contentious and lengthy hearing draw more than 40 people to comment on the issue, and some stood outside to wait for a turn to speak.
Some opposed rezoning historic preservation land for the PUD, while others said the project would cut down on traffic by eliminating Barnacle Bills and would be a better and more comfortable fit for neighbors.
Other than Shaver, commissioners agreed.
Commissioner Leanna Freeman said Patel wants to do a parking lot where there is currently parking, while providing less in-and-out traffic, it’s already a commercial area, and a longtime nearby resident spoke in support of the project.
“Upholding our zoning is … really critical to both businesses and residents. … I just feel we have to uphold our zoning,” Shaver said.
“Would you like to outlaw PUDs … because right now PUD is a form of zoning,” Commissioner Leanna Freeman said.
“There’s a bar to be met. … What I’m saying is that I don’t feel that bar is met,” Shaver said.
“This is the only HP zoning that requires parking,” Commissioner Roxanne Horvath said. “And as Leanna said this is a PUD and we’re trying to have the developer provide the parking, so I don’t understand why you’re not getting there.”
San Marco Avenue
City commissioners supported a plan to add bicycle lanes and a transit lane on part of San Marco Avenue, while keeping on-street parking in much of the Uptown area.
The plan, supported by commissioners Monday night, is to add a northbound bicycle lane and a combined southbound bicycle and shuttle lane to stretch from S.R. 16 to Hope Street, eliminating on-street parking along that stretch.
From Hope Street to West Castillo Drive, bicycles and a shuttle would merge into normal traffic and on-street parking would remain.
However, the FDOT is planning to remove some parking along that stretch to improve safety by giving drivers a clearer view of oncoming traffic as they turn onto San Marco Avenue.
“We are going to be working with [the FDOT] to minimize the amount of parking that they remove,” said City Manager John Regan, who plans to send a letter to the agency supporting the city’s plan.
The transit lane would only be used by shuttles and only during highly congested times such as events, officials said. As part of the changes, the city plans to add parking in the surrounding area, including metered and paid parking lots.
In other business
Commissioners set the proposed millage rate at 7.5 mills, the same as the current rate, for the next fiscal year. The rate, which can still be changed, equals $7.50 per $1,000 of taxable property value. The first budget hearing will be 5:05 p.m. on Sept. 7 at City Hall.
Commissioners this week also approved an amendment to the Lincolnville Redevelopment Plan, the document that guides spending in the Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Area. The CRA collects a portion of property tax revenue from the area and uses that to fund housing repairs and other programs. The amendment adds new initiatives to the plan, such as supporting the creation of a Community Land Trust to create more affordable housing.


Sponger2 Harvell
Was there ever really any doubt????

Thank goodness the majority of the commissioners used good old common sense in their decisions.  Kudos to them as they didn't let "small mob rule" dictate the process.  Curious about Mrs. Sikes-Kline's emergency.......

William McCormick
   I was at the meeting and I didn't sense that a "small mob rule" was dictating the process.  The PZA was deliberate in its consideration of the rezoning request.  In examining the discussions during their meetings they reviewed the basis for the initial 2006 PUD as well as the 2016 PUD amendment.  In my opinion a strong argument for overruling the PZA was not provided by the City Council majority.
   Nevertheless there are good arguments pro and con  regarding the proposed parking lot, but it does establish precedence which may result in long-term harm to the city's preservation districts.  I wonder if the vote to overturn the PZA decision would have been the same if they had voted 6 to 0 or even 5 to 1 to deny.  Our city and county commissions are fortunate to have qualified individuals willing to contribute time and energy for quasi-governmental activities.  When their decisions are overruled without a strong argument for doing so, it serves as a disincentive to volunteer service

If good old common sense had been used in 2006, this zoning change in a HP neighborhood would never have been approved.  This shows that the city will always choose tourists over residents, and parking over principles.


It is commercial property worth millions.  Did ya think they were going to put a coffee shop or used book store there when you moved here?  They applied for a legally allowable option and got it.


Posted July 11, 2017 05:35 am - Updated July 11, 2017 06:53 am
San Marco Hotel project rezoning approved by St. Augustine City Commission

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St. Augustine commissioners worked late Monday evening, approving a request to rezone historic preservation land for parking for the already approved San Marco Hotel Planned Unit Development.

Commissioners voted 3-1 to approve the rezoning. Mayor Nancy Shaver opposed. Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline was not present. She had to (SIC) leave before the hearing was over.

The hotel, which is yet to be constructed, is planned to be built near San Marco Avenue and West Castillo Drive. The development was already approved in 2006.

The owner, Kanti Patel, applied for an amendment to add more land to the development for parking by rezoning historic preservation district land.


Dozens of people spoke at the hearing.

Early in the meeting, some stood outside as they waited to speak because The Alcazar Room filled up.

The issue has stirred controversy among some residents who oppose rezoning historic preservation land to PUD zoning for parking, and who also question the basis for the amendment and occupancy numbers used to estimate how much parking would be required if it weren’t a PUD (PUDs make their own requirements).

The developer’s team said the project would reduce traffic, improve the look of the area and protect nearby residents from potential developments allowed by current zoning, such as restaurants.

The development as approved calls for providing 114 parking spaces via an underground parking garage.

Under the rezoning, property owner Kanti Patel hopes to provide 144 spaces in both surface parking and some parking underground in a tunnel that connects the hotel property with a parking lot.

James Whitehouse, the attorney for Patel, said Monday engineers had found a way to provide a minimum of 160 parking spaces.

He said the use would reduce traffic by getting rid of the daily trips from Barnacle Bills by getting rid of the restaurant.

Those who spoke were nearly evenly divided with those in support of the project and those against.

St. Augustine resident Melinda Rakoncay said Patel’s real reason for requesting the rezoning was that the underground garage would have cost millions more to build than had been expected.

Other speakers also raised concerns about rezoning historic preservation land for the purpose of parking.

“I simply want to see zoning stabilized, especially in the residential and HP district,” Rakoncay said.

She also said the added parking still isn’t enough.

“The HP5 Zoning should not be changed,” said west city resident B.J. Kalaidi. “The fact of the matter is the history of St. Augustine is for sale and this is the perfect example.”

Judith Seraphin, of Lincolnville, raised concerns about a non-contiguous PUD — one parking lot will be separated from the rest of the property by a small piece of land.

She said that means someone could, for instance, build a parking lot blocks away from a development.

“You’re setting a precedent that is going to haunt our city, and the developers are going to love it,” Seraphin said.

Whitehouse, in response to public comments about the PUD setting a precedent, said for zoning “each specific case is an individual case on its own merits.”

Some members of the business community and surrounding residents supported the project, citing benefits such as reducing the number of trips in and out of the lot by removing the Barnacle Bills restaurant and replacing it with parking.

“This project increases the tax base, it provides new jobs, and minimizes traffic,” said Isabelle Rodriguez, president and CEO of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Boles, St. Augustine resident and former mayor, said he favored the amendment to the PUD “because it seems to stabilize the area.” He also added it would save the area “hundreds of trips per day” by getting rid of Barnacle Bills.

He also spoke in support of the PUD process.

Check Wednesday’s St. Augustine Record for more details about the hearing and the meeting.

Andrea Wood DeGeorge
Another example of bad government but today's example is local. So disappointing. Many thanks to Mayor Shaver for voting the will of her constituents and in favor of reason.

"it seems to stabilize the area". Are you kidding?
"increases the tax base, it provides new jobs, and minimizes traffic". It may increase the tax base, but the jobs lost may outnumber the jobs gained, and traffic will probably only be worse. By the way, will there be any food served at this establishment? Because if there is, that argument about less traffic by demolishing Barnacle Bills would just be a ruse if so.
There is a major difference between a family restaurant on the edge of the HP neighborhood, and a large hotel and parking structure taking up half of Castillo Drive.
HP zoning is a promise from the city to homeowners that their neighborhoods will be protected from project like this. It should never have been approved in 2006. But to expand that betrayal by granting more land use changes is worse.
The message is clear. The city supports tourism, not residents.

Sponger2 Harvell
Would have bet the house this would be approved. Could you expect any less from our so called government? I would have turned a tidy profit too, without so much as a shovel full of turned dirt.

Kirk Chamberlain
What kind of vision do these people have? What kind of identity and direction do they think has made St. Augustine so popular among the general population? Out of touch.


Sutton arrested, charged with reckless driving, leaving the scene


Jim Sutton, 60, of St. Augustine and the opinion page editor for The St. Augustine Record/ was arrested early Friday by St. Johns County deputies on a charge of reckless driving — damage to property and another charge of leaving the scene involving damage to property.
According to the sheriff’s office report, witnesses saw Sutton’s vehicle on Dondanville Road swerving and then hit a light pole. One witness said he was leaving work about 10:10 p.m. and saw a Toyota 4-Runner come down the roadway and nearly hit his truck. A second witness said the vehicle hit a street light and then a mailbox. One of the witnesses alleged that when he tried to stop Sutton’s vehicle, Sutton began to drive away while he was still on the vehicle, according to the police report.
The deputy said in his report that he responded to a hit and run call on Dondanville Road with the description of a dark grey Toyota 4-Runner leaving the scene after hitting a mailbox and a light pole.
The deputy said Sutton did not appear to have all of his faculties, but he did not smell alcohol coming from him.
After Sutton was read his rights, he agreed to answer some questions regarding the hit and run incident, according to the police report.
Sutton told the officer he had two alcoholic drinks and went to bed. He also said he took ambien to help him sleep. According to the report, Sutton told the officer that Ambien makes him real thirsty so after he woke up after a couple of hours he decided to drive to Winn-Dixie. According to the report, Sutton told the officer on the way back to the residence he turned down the wrong street, attempted to turn around, and hit a mailbox.
On Friday afternoon, Sutton said he didn’t remember anything about what was in the police report. He did say he took an ambien Thursday night.
The sheriff’s office said Friday afternoon that it would be issuing a supplemental report that reports that Sutton was apprehended on A1A.
Ambien induces a strong feeling of drowsiness that is intended to help you fall asleep, and stay asleep for seven to eight hours. Alcohol amplifies the sedative-hypnotic effects of Ambien, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When you drink alcoholic beverages while taking zolpidem, the combination of the two drugs will yield a far more pronounced sensation of drowsiness, as well as other effects. Alcohol will increase the risk and severity of zolpidem’s side effects. These include motor impairment, memory loss, dizziness, unusual behavior and slowed breathing, reports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Tom Reynolds said...

Here is what I reckon, MORE HOTELS LESS RED TAPE. Just get rid of the PZB. Who needs RESIDENTS ANYWAY. BULLDOZE all those OLD Houses. Nobody cares about OLD STUFF ! MOBILITY ? WE DON'T NEED NO STINK-IN MOBILITY ! CAN YOU SAY .........




Warren Celli said...

Pig Tourism's shill,
Immoral piggy Bill,
Gets over 300 dollars a day,
From his retirement theft,
That's why he colludes,
To keep the scheme in play,

Out of the toilet,
Into the light,
Cleanse your souls,
Of disease and blight,
Open the shutters,
Open the blinds,
Let the cleansing sun,
Disinfect your minds,
Change the ways,
You have been taught to think,
You are not special,
Your crap does stink...

Immoral piggy Bill, oink, oink, oink!

According to the City Clerk’s office, WILLIAM B. HARRISS receives a retirement check from the City of St. Augustine of $9,367.46 monthly ($112,409.52 per year).