Thursday, January 10, 2019
Fish Island Ditch Delayed, Party House Rezoning Denied (SAR)
Good news. I am impressed with our current St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board, which has shown remarkably good judgment in rejecting unlawful, unwise zoning requests by developers.
We're preserving and protecting Our Town, and governments are increasingly listing to the people.
Rezoning rejected for Bridge Street property; Fish Island drainage project delayed
By Sheldon Gardner
By Stuart Korfhage
Posted Jan 9, 2019 at 9:52 PM
Updated Jan 9, 2019 at 9:52 PM
St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board members voted unanimously to recommend denial of a request to rezone the house at 7 Bridge St. from Historic Preservation One to Planned Unit Development.
Sandy and Mike Wieber, who own one property next door called the Bayfront Marin House, applied for the rezoning to have more flexibility in allowing weddings and rentals at the site. They wanted to be able to host weddings of up to 60 guests and, on non-wedding nights, allow the house to be rented as two units.
The current agreement with the city, hashed out with property owner Blake Deal III after code enforcement proceedings, allows the house to be leased for a 30-day period and to be used to host weddings, anniversaries and similar events with up to 45 guests.
Planning board member Carl Blow cited protection of the historic preservation district’s residential quality of life in his decision.
“I’m concerned that what’s going to happen in the city of St. Augustine is we’re not going to have any residents living in the city. As we lose residents, the very benefit and the attraction of this city will disappear. It’s disappearing now,” he said.
In other business
The PZB agreed to continue — apparently right before the board members were about to deny — a plan by Fish Island Development to remove trees to make room for a water detention system for a planned commercial development at the southwest corner of State Road 312 and Plantation Island Drive South.
This Fish Island project is different from the recent proposal by D.R. Horton to rezone about 70 acres of Fish Island for construction of up to 170 homes.
The tree removal was requested for a 48-foot wide drainage pond/swale, according to the application. The proposed swale leads to the Matanzas River.
The drainage project is needed to treat the stormwater associated with the adjacent commercial project, expected to be a 20,000-square-foot, a single-story building with multiple units.
PZB members found several issues with the project.
“I think you’re taking the cheapest and easiest way out right now,” board member Karen Zander said. “I think that’s a real problem.”
Board member Carl Blow was more concerned about a foreclosure case involving Fish Island Development that is ongoing.
“I don’t believe it’s a good idea to move forward with this without the bank’s involvement,” he said.
• Another tree removal hearing was continued after a lengthy discussion by PZA members. It involved the property at 709 S. Ponce de Leon Drive that used to be home to a branch office of CenterState Bank.
The applicant was asking to remove one tree from the parking area and to build a 330-foot-long retaining wall. At the time of the application, the goal was to use the property for a restaurant in an approximately 5,000-square-foot building.