In secret, behind locked gates, our Nation's Oldest City dumped a landfill in a lake (Old City Reservoir), while emitting sewage in our rivers and salt marsh. Organized citizens exposed and defeated pollution, racism and cronyism. We elected a new Mayor. We're transforming our City -- advanced citizenship. Ask questions. Make disclosures. Demand answers. Be involved. Expect democracy. Report and expose corruption. Smile! Help enact a St. Augustine National Park and Seashore. We shall overcome!
Sunday, September 08, 2019
Update on Buc-ee's From Lance Williams: Will St. Johns County Exercise Eminent Domain Powers?
It's time that our local elected officials stand up for the people and not the powerful.
I think that St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners need to vote on September 12, 2019 to consider authorizing the County Attorney to consider an eminent domain lawsuit to acquire then land where greedy Texas billionaires would build a hideous, dangerous, ugly108-pump gasoline station. (Meeting date changed due to hurricane). (corrected)
Here's an e-mail from Mr. Lance Williams, one of the indefatigable leaders of the opposition to the proposed Buc-ee's at World Golf Village:
First of all, I hope everyone made it through Dorian ok and that you and
your families are safe and sound. I had planned on sending out this email
earlier but I knew that we all needed to concentrate on making our storm
I recently received a number of emails from World Golf Village residents who
are concerned about the proposed Buc-ee's at the intersection of I 95 and
International Golf Parkway and who asked to be included on my distribution
list. To those who are new to the list, I appreciate your concern and
support. To those with whom I have corresponded in the past, I should
explain why I haven't sent out any Buc-ee's updates in a while. The reasons
are several fold.
First of all, the Commissioners, the County Attorney, and the Zoning Board
have all stated that there is nothing they can do or will do and that
Buc-ee's has every right to build a gas station on this site so long as what
they build is compliant with the PUD and DRI (the documents that govern
construction projects for the World Commerce Center). The County Planning
Department stated "The application will not require a review process by the
Planning and Zoning Agency or the Board of County Commissioners unless the
applicant requests variances not approved by current zoning." To date,
Buc-ee's has not asked for such accommodations but the project is far from
over. They have a history of asking for these at their other sites.
The County has further stated that if they (the County) opposed the Buc-ee's
construction that the County would be sued and would lose the case.
Despite the assertations of the county officials that Buc-ee's complies with
the PUD, consider the following excerpt from the PUD "Vision Statement"
which supposedly describes how this area is to be developed:
* A strong sense of environmental stewardship
* Safeguards neighborhoods from incompatible development
* Where parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bikeways link the
* Where industrial, residential and commercial uses are carefully
buffered from each other
* Improving the overall quality of life
I hardly think that any rational person could see Buc-ee's as being
compliant with this "Vision Statement."
I and many others have addressed the Commissioners and Zoning Board at every
one of their meetings for the better part of a year with carefully prepared
and detailed presentations pointing out the negative impact on our
community, and the traffic and safety hazards to ourselves, our families,
and our children.
But rather than showing concern, we were met with the "What do you want us
to do about It ?" reaction. Meaning, since no variances have been
requested, they have nothing on which to vote. Doing nothing is not
acceptable. I was even met with comments like "It's better to have one big
gas station rather than 5 or 6 smaller ones." and "While we respect the
right of residents to express their opinion, we think that the media has
covered this matter well." Meaning: yeah, yeah, we've heard all this before
and don't need to hear it again; we can get what we need from television and
don't need the opinions of residents.
Modifications To I 95 and International Golf Parkway
Faced with these reactions and the fact that until now little further action
had been undertaken by Buc-ee's, I felt it was not productive to further
address our county officials. However, this has changed now that the public
has been informed of the massive changes that will need to be made to
International Golf Parkway and the entrance and exit ramps to I 95 all to
accommodate Buc-ee's - a facility residents neither need nor want. See the
attached supplied by realtor Ron Savarese. Both are the same with one in
Word and the other in PDF format.
Like you and many others, it seems like the tail is wagging the dog when an
enormous accommodation is being made for such an unwanted eye sore that will
create significant traffic and safety hazards only to serve the passers by
on I 95 and not the residents of our community.
So, I've come to the conclusion that only a massive protest from residents
will cause our government to take notice.
What can you do ?
1. Feel free to pass this email along to other concerned residents.
Talk to your neighbors and ask them to email me requesting to be on our
2. Hundreds of eyes are better than just two - I monitor the County
Government Website and have Google alerts set to pick up news on Buc-ee's
which I get daily. That said, having us all stay vigilant is important.
Please let me know if you hear anything that we all should know and act
3. Write Arch Aplin, Don Wasek, (Buc-ee's Co-Owners), and Jeff Nadalo
(Buc-ee's General Counsel) - Address: Buc-ee's - 327 FM 2004 Lake Jackson,