On April 19, 2022, St. Johns County Commissioners voted 4-1 to reject a request to rezone land near the Airport from Open Rural to Planned Unit Development. Unethical conduct by longtime developer mouthpiece DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, son of the longtime chair of our St. Johns County Water Management District, was alleged by Airport business owner Matthew Liotta, who was assisted before the meeting by respected Florida environmental attorney Ralf Brookes.
St. JOHNS LAW GROUP and DOUG BURNETT no longer represents the developer, after Mr. Liotta learned that BURNETT was simultaneously cousin for the St. Johns County Airport Authority and the developer, and that the Airport was required to give its approval to the project under the County's Land Development regulations. The Airport Board originally didn't get to vote on the project, with decision making arrogated by BURNETT, as Airport attorney, and Airport Executive Director EDWARD R. WUELLNER.
While an Assistant County Attorney claimed ethics issues were not "relevant" to a development order, no one agreed with this ukase.
Unethical conduct vitiates any proposal and is always relevant.
In truth, the proposal was contaminated by unethical behavior, and no Commissioner denied that it was pertinent and relevant
DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, a former Assistant County Attorney, was the late unethical corporate lawyer GEORGE MORRIS' McCLURE's understudy at the Rogers Towers law firm. McCLURE was also Airport counsel, before BURNETT got the gig.
The developer, ALTERRA GROUP, used several of GEORGE McCLURE's abusive cliche techniques, including:
- a written threat of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP),
- last-minute changes proposed by England Thimms and Miller planner Lindsey Haha, a former County planer who did flawed work for St. Augustine Beach on its development code;
- verbal threats that without approving their scheme, something worse could be built there.
In a telephone conversation, an ALTERRA acolyte asked Mr. Liotta, "Do you know who I am?" (That's the same question that disgraced former St. Augustine Vice Mayor ERROL DONLEVY JONES asked SAPD officers on his way to jail for the first of some twelve (12) times.
Residents weren't buying it, and presented video of their pristine rural neighborhood, with narrow streets and beautiful Old Florida scenery.
County Commissioner Paul Waldron closely questioned the false assertions by the developer, with maladroit answers emitted by its public-facing two faced planner, Ms. Haga, and her "team."
Only vacuous, vicious, other-directed St. Johns County Commission Vice Chair CHRISTIAN WHITEHURST voted for this nasty abortion of a project.
Chairman Henry Dean made the motion to deny it, seconded by Commissioner Waldron.
This is the second major project of BURNET rejected by St. Johns County Commission in 2022. Commissioner Waldron's questions helped defeat another developer project, pushed by BURNETT, that would have increased traffic on SR207, right next to a church and a school, the Turning Point at Calvary Church (whose pastor is the father of St. Johns County Administrator Hunter Sinclair Conrad).
Narrow roads and too much traffic and safety hazards were the common themes in routing both projects.
Well-organized and well-stated neighbor concerns about neighborhood rights to peaceful, quiet enjoyment of their property rights are triumphing over secretive dodgy developers' hare-trained schemes, last-minute changes, false assertions and conflicts of interest.
Meanwhile, the incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record is not reporting this news.
The Record has long been a loutish lickspittle and tout for every development project. Ever some I moved to St. Johns County in 1999, neighbors have been disrespected by developers.
Now, newly empowered, with skeptical candidates questioning overdevelopment, and sometimes getting elected, there has been a sea change in our local governments.
The people are being heard and heeded.
Some 67 witnesses testified at a Growth Management workshop in February -- every single one was outraged about overdevelopment and its effects on deforestation and our wildlife, wetlands, way of life, schools, roads and governments.
The County will hold another Growth Management workshop on April 26, 2022.
People will be asking for a moratorium on development permits until the County can get its act together.
Meanwhile, the County's voters will be asked to support a 15% sales tax increase November 8, 2022: if passed, it would relieve developers from paying their fair share )the same scheme behind the 2015 half penny sales tax "for the schools," which was really for the developers.
Now that We, the People are wise to the developers' works and pomps, are GANNETT and the WRecKord relying on their Fifth Amendment right t remain silent?
You tell me.
Here is BURNETT and his law firm, partying with disgraced former St. Augustine Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., in happier days, when St. Johns Law Group won virtually every zoning matter based on its corrupt campaign contributions to local officials: