A1A and 95 and Completion Summer of 2020

The profound changes coming after completion of this project will be felt on Amelia, not during construction, but after construction as homes are completed and access to the best area beaches is suddenly easier to reach. Consider the rooftops coming in and in the vicinity of Wildlight. Consider where those new residents will choose to visit and which beaches are most convenient. Free parking, restaurants and the time to reach a resource mean Fernandina and Amelia Island should see record levels in 2020.

Looking toward Amelia Island from A1A and I-95

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began construction in January 2017 on the area’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 95 in Nassau County. 
This project consists of widening the roadway from 4 lanes to 6 lanes with raised medians, curb & gutter, sidewalks and bicycle lanes (2 miles). This project will also include the addition of a new Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI)* under I-95 at A1A Exit 373 (to Callahan/Yulee/Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island). The project began construction in January, 2017, and is expected to be completed by summer 2020.

FDOT, www.nflroads.com June 10, 2019

Limitations of Elected Office and Fernandina Beach City Charter

One of the first lessons learned, when elected to office…is serious and meant to create  reasonable local government.  In other words, the charter is supposed to protect the taxpayer or voter from the “unreasonable”.  Election comes with limits. Direction of employees or direction to move funds from department to department, study an issue….all goes through a “Charter Officer” and the commission as a body, not the department head. Commissioners are not entitled to act as city manager or run roughshod over the charter. This means, conversations with employees are limited to information gathering and generally will happen after notification of the manager or appropriate charter officer prior or after specific direction by a commission. The danger of either directing action in violation of the charter or a perception of directing is increased when we have direct appointment of members to boards, active/frequent/vocal attendance at advisory meetings and an excessive and overwhelming presence in day to day operations at City Hall.


Sec. 10. – Powers generally; dealing with administrative service through Charter Officers required; violations deemed misdemeanor, penalty.

(a)The Mayor and Commissioners shall not, in any manner, dictate the appointment or removal of any city officers or employees whom the Charter Officer or any of his/her subordinates are empowered to appoint, evaluate and supervise.(b)All powers of the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by the constitution of this state, are hereby vested in the City Commission. Except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by the constitution of this state, the City Commission may by ordinance or resolution prescribe the manner in which any power of the city shall be exercised.(c)The Mayor and Commissioners shall deal with administrative service through the respective Charter Officer. The Mayor and Commissioners shall not directly interfere with or direct the conduct of any employee in the discharge of prescribed duties. However, with the express permission of the respective Charter Officer, the Mayor and Commissioners may communicate directly with an employee.(d)Any violation of the provisions of this section by any member of the City Commission shall, upon first offense be grounds for sanction by the Commission, and any second or subsequent offense or violation within a commissioner’s term shall constitute a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof before any court of competent jurisdiction the violator shall be fined in an amount not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200.00), or be imprisoned for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or both, at the discretion of the court, and shall be subject to removal from office.(e)Investigations or inquiries shall be conducted pursuant to Section 136 of this charter.

(Laws of Fla., ch. 8949(1921), § 10; Ord. No. 91-17, § 1, 9-17-91; Ord. No. 2009-06, § 3, 3-7-09). Source: City of Fernandina Beach Charter June 8, 2019

Best Use, Great Corner and Thoughts…..

Sometimes it makes sense to consider what a community wants. This corner appears to lend itself to use as a convenience store and gas station, but what else might fit? What does the community need and want on this corner?

I tend to see locations like this as a challenge. The 2.64 acre site is big enough for more than one use, so uses like, hypothetically, a Chick-fil-a might work with another use like a convenience store or a second restaurant. Drive through with access from the Lime Street side would be ideal. What about an Aldi or another smaller grocery chain? This site would be closer to a number of apartments and walkable for a significant population. I didn’t mention it yet, but the acreage is equivalent to a larger site with the right to use retention “off site” included as a part of the PUD.

Best Vacant Commercial Corner on Amelia Island?

I won’t list all potential uses, but I wonder what the community might like?

A few thoughts about a Living Shoreline

Flying over the marina in Fernandina, I noticed something interesting. The discussion about a living shoreline is really, in my opinion, only about allowing the natural tendency of a part of the shore to return to a more environmentally friendly and less costly state. This drone shot shows an are with a more natural appearance and the portion of the marina being rebuilt. The difference is dramatic.

Aloha Bagel and Deli…Hidden Gem

If you haven’t tried Aloha for breakfast or lunch, you’re missing a hidden gem on 8th Street.  Somehow, I missed this for the last year and stopped in earlier this week. Sandwiches are fantastic and the salads are the best I remember.  Fresh ingredients, baby spinach and fresh bread every day. hERafaNAROCbPzmaann5Fg

Stop in….I don’t think you’ll regret giving them a try.

432 S 8th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

+1-904-432-8934

Perspective and Access

I’ve been reading a lot about beach access in the last few months.  As perspectives go, I tend to see things as a native.  We’re tolerant of change and most of us speak up when an issue is personally important.   Growth and population changes everything.  Whether we’re talking about the number of cars crossing the bridge or how many spaces are left at Main Beach on a typical day.

cropped-30-s-2nd-st_k2-edit-2-1900

When more people desire access to a limited resource, the access to that resource will be different.  Thinking forward, consider an increased county population and fully improved A1A.  Amelia Island is the location of choice, if access is available….whether we’re talking about parking or about an improved road.

Conservation Errors and Number of Owners Impacted? How would you feel if your home were suddenly designated as conservation on the FLUM….?

Notice anything …..at all?

How would you feel if your home or land became conservation on the Future Land Use Map?  Think about it!  4 properties show up on the property appraiser’s GIS system with conservation and a sliver of our homestead is also crossed by the line.  I feel the designation is an error and I intend to ask for a correction.  I want to know who made the error and why the homesteaded properties were designated.  The FLUM lines have no connection to ownership, topo lines or wetland lines.  I was told the CoFB has no intention of addressing other errors and only intends to consider the current property with so much recent opposition, Amelia Bluff, on Citrona.  Why would we not see a correction of all 4, 5 or “SEVENTY” properties with errors?

In looking at the GIS maps from the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s website, I see a number of properties with a potentially erroneous conservation designation on the  Future Land Use map.  It is, perhaps, worth asking a question.  Why are “ALL ERRORS” not being voluntarily corrected?  One property on this map may actually have a home crossed by a FLUM conservation designation line.  Does this owner need to worry?  I would like clarification and I want to know how this happened.  

As enlarged as this map may be, I wouldn’t see the line potentially crossing a few feet of our back property line, without aid of the GIS system….hopefully accurate and “to scale”.

Below, you’ll see a piece of conservation FLUM, with Conservation designation, crossing the back of our property, “ONLY VISIBLE WITH AID OF MAGNIFICATION, GIS”.  Reasonable?  Not in my opinion!

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.52.13 PM

On a whim, I enlarged a view of our land…..a lot!   Same spot with arrow on the other image……

The last embedded video you see includes discussion at the March 13th PAB meeting related to as many as 140 properties with inconsistencies.  My particular concern is in one PAB member’s comments related to an erroneous map ruling over the zoning and also, I have an issue with comments suggesting handling this privately….or out of the sunshine?  See comments by Member Frank Santry at about the 6 minute mark.

Fernandina’s Future Land Use Map and Clarity

https://www.fbfl.us/DocumentCenter/View/187/Future-Land-Use?bidId=

What is a FLUM? What is the purpose?  The future land use map is a community’s visual guide to future planning. The future land use map should bring together most if not all of the elements of the comprehensive plan such as natural resources, economic development, housing and transportation. Source: University of Wisconsin 3/2019

Current Zoning….

Recent confusion over the differences in zoning and future land use, seem to have stirred the community pot. Living near the greenway, I’m aware of previous errors in zoning to conservation. The intent of acquiring greenway was to create land with conservation zoning or future land use. Some adjacent properties were not acquired as a part of the greenway, but somehow were changed in error and that error appears to have carried over to the future land use map as well. Anyway, the drama over this change continued as those unaware of the original reason for the zoning or how land changes to conservation, questioned the development of land zoned for residential use, but still showing conservation on the “FUTURE” land use map. It helps to know the history and look at the dark green areas on the map above. See the link and full version, if you’re curious. The light green and dark green areas are quite large, but seeing properties from ground level can make it difficult to understand just how much natural space we have on the island, preserved with recreational or conservation zoning.

Future Land Use Map Snippet….
Looking toward Fort Clinch from Atlantic Avenue over part of the Egan’s Creek Greenway

SUMMARY OF REQUEST AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION: _________________________

Approval of a small-scale Future Land Use Map amendment is requested for 6.40 acres of land from Conservation (CON) to Low Density Residential (LDR) to correct a scrivener’s error and for consistency with the zoning map reflecting R-1(Low Density Residential) zoning. The applicant requests consideration of the FLUM amendment to make consistent the maps and proceed with final plat approval for the 30-dwelling unit subdivision located on a total of on 11.71 acres of land. The subject property is located on Citrona Drive between Hickory Street and Fir Street and identified as “Amelia Bluff.” The developed density of the site is proposed to be 2.56 dwelling units per acre. Existing uses surrounding the property are described in the preceding section. Two points of ingress and egress will be located on Citrona Drive, pending approval of Nassau County for roadway access.

In 2017, the City vacated a portion of unopened right-of-way (Ordinance 2017-25) known as, “Gum Street”, which ran through the mid- section of the site. The City and property owner entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Resolution 2017-123) which stipulated certain criteria be met as part of any land development approvals. The wetlands portion of the property totaling 3.63 acres of land was transferred to the City of Fernandina through a quit claim deed on March 20, 2018 (Resolution 2018-39). Access to the abutting properties under ownership of the Florida Department of Transportation and located on the eastern edge of the property was established through the creation of a public right-of-way under Resolution 2018-40 on March 20, 2018. The City Commission approved the Amelia Bluff preliminary plat through Resolution 2018-64 on May 1, 2018. Site work commenced in May and infrastructure improvements have been installed. The City will inspect the roadways and infrastructure improvements and the required maintenance bonds will be received at the time a final plat receives signatures from City officials.

Fernandina Beach City Website www.fbfl.org 3/19/19

Marina Update and Current View

After damages, actually, from 2 hurricanes beginning with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, our marina has been operating at a very reduced capacity. you can see in the above picture, taken on February 4th, 2019, the mud flats are forming in most of the areas occupied by dock space. The following year, Hurricane Irma impacted the area and, although less dramatic, brought “different” damage. Wind direction, tides and storm direction makes each storm unique. Hurricanes aren’t necessarily that common in Fernandina and we’re actually rated in the top 10 safe cities on Home Insurance’s blog. See the link….https://homeinsurance.com/blog/10-safest-florida-cities-from-hurricanes/

Due to damages caused by Hurricane Matthew and the pending repairs, Fernandina Harbor Marina will close Friday, November 23, 2018.  This will include dinghy, short term, transient docks, the mooring field and the boat ramp.  The marina is scheduled to reopen Summer 2019.  Staff is on site from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

MARINA REPAIR STATUS – 
PART 1.  The marina is still without the use of the wave attenuator.  This includes the fuel dock, pump out and large vessel dockage.  Bids were published for the repair/replacement of the wave attenuator and a contract is in place with Fender Marine.  Mobilization is schedule for later in November and work is expected to last until June of 2019.   
PART 2.  The Southern Basin Reconfiguration and Dredging is also on schedule.  The City Commission awarded the bid to Brance Diversified.  This work will include the removal of docks form the southern basin, the dredging of the southern basin and the installation of new docks that will follow a north to south alignment.  This reconfiguration is expected to minimize siltation and prolong the period between dredging project.  Brance is scheduled to mobilize later this month and work is expected to last until April 2019.  

PART 3.  The marina will be closed to transient, short term, dinghy and mooring dockage starting November 23rd.     

City of Fernandina Beach Website, Feb 5, 2019
Earlier in the repair process….