Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DOW PUD PUSHER CORNEAL: "I'm not out of money at all"

DAVID BARTON CORNEAL's Gainiesville-based hey-boy, Project Manager and General Contractor MICHAEL A. CONROY said CORNEAL is cutting up two historic homes into nine apartments to make money to finance historic building restoration, stretching the schedule to two years, shocking discredited "Native St. Augustine" human shields/shills, who thought CORNEAL was the wealthy savior of historic buildings.

Commissioners want clearer PUD vision for Dow property
Posted: July 28, 2015 - 11:24pm

While plans to develop the former Dow Museum of Historic Houses are moving forward, commissioners said this week they need more answers before the plan gets to a final hearing.

The Planned Unit Development application for the Cordova Inn, a proposed boutique hotel, would, as submitted, allow developer and owner David Corneal to use the property for apartments, if necessary, and later convert them back for the inn if the PUD application is approved.

Commissioners questioned the need for Corneal to keep existing zoning uses.

Ellen Avery-Smith, an attorney for Corneal, said Monday the move to keep existing zoning to allow for apartments was a “hedging of the bet.” If the PUD is approved, Avery-Smith said Corneal would then need time to convert the property to an inn and wouldn’t want the buildings to be considered nonconforming use.

Some commissioners had several questions and concerns about the application, which they advanced to a second reading that’s scheduled for Aug. 24. Some said the application needs to be fleshed out by second reading for the project to get a serious look.

Mayor Nancy Shaver, who voted against sending the PUD to second reading, said Tuesday she wants details on the request to keep the existing zoning.

Avery-Smith and another of Corneal’s representatives said Monday that part of the apartment plan came about after delays in the project and a need to generate revenue.

Corneal confirmed Tuesday that delays to the project have added to the cost, and he is planning to use the properties for apartments if necessary.

“We can’t sit on our hands and see what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money, and we’ve got to generate some income to pay the debt.”

Corneal says the cost is always greater than expected when renovating old buildings.

“I’m not out of money at all,” Corneal said when asked about funding for the project. “It’s just a matter of where am I going to put the money? In a hotel or ... into rentals?”

However, Corneal said a boutique hotel would bring in more revenue to sustain the properties. The property is a collection of historic houses dating back to the 1700s, and Corneal says using the property as an apartment would not allow for the kind of preservation and restoration he would like to do.

“So our fallback position, or plan B, is that we will rent apartments out if we don’t get the PUD,” he said. “It will be a shame.”

However, Corneal said he is not anxious to rent.

“We’re waiting for the PUD and hoping that people realize the merit and what we’re trying to do historically,” he said.

Shaver said Tuesday that she wants more clarity about parking plans and that she still has a number of concerns about the PUD document, adding that the narrative seems rather vague.

Corneal said Tuesday that parking is not an issue and he has secured a lease for a parking site.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, who also voted against advancing the PUD, said she wants more information on the plan for the apartments and a better plan for access to the site as well as details on how the plan fits in with the goals of the historic preservation district.

“I view PUDs as contractual zoning,” Sikes-Kline said. “So like anything, when you’re spelling out a contract with someone it’s an instrument of trust,” adding that it’s important to get as much detail as possible in a contract.

Commissioner Todd Neville did not share the concerns of Shaver and Sikes-Kline about keeping existing uses in the PUD.

He voted to move the PUD forward so people can be heard and have their comments taken into consideration. There is no public hearing on first reading, but more than 20 people spoke related to the item at Monday’s meeting, even though their comments could not be officially considered.

Neville said Tuesday he understood Corneal’s decision to consider alternatives and why he’s asking to keep the rights to use the buildings as apartments.

“That’s a normal business move,” Neville said.

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