Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
As the final item in its two hour-long budget meeting on July 30, 2013, the Fernandina Beach City Commission turned its attention to consideration of selling various city-owned parcels of land that appear to be surplus to the city’s current and anticipated needs. City Commissioner Ed Boner, whose position has been to return parcels to the tax rolls wherever it makes sense, has championed this item. Vice Mayor Charlie Corbett was not in attendance for the discussion.
Deputy City Manager Marshall McCrary presented the various parcels for consideration. Commissioners chose to concentrate on those parcels for which a voter referendum would be required to sell and/or rezone the property.
The particular parcels that the FBCC agreed to send to the voters on referendum include lands previously reserved for municipal golf course use. The Golf Course Advisory Board has not raised objections to the potential sale. If sold, the FBCC appears to be prepared to invest the proceeds in the golf course. The parcels in question are represented below (Parcel numbers relate to city slide presentation):
Approximately 28 acres currently zoned Recreation with about 415 feet of frontage on Simmons Road, this property is not within the Airport Runway Protection Zone, but the city would suggest an Avigation Easement due to the potential for aircraft noise. This site could be considered for low or medium residential development. Commissioner Ed Boner suggested that perhaps as a condition of development, any potential developer would be required to provide passive recreation elements on the neighboring city-owned property between this property and South 14th Street.
A 6.64-acre, heavily wooded site, that lies along Canopy Road. The majority of this parcel lies within the primary approach surface for Runway 31, which is also considered to the Accident Potential Zone (APZ). Other than recreational, this site might be considered for low-density residential.
Not requiring voter referendum to sell are two additional parcels identified by the FBCC for possible sale. One, a 25-foot lot on 8th Street zoned C-2 commercial and the other a .201–acre parcel on the corner of Bill Melton Road and South Fletcher Avenue zoned R-1 residential. The second of these parcels will return to the FBCC in August to complete the vacation of the Pasco right-of-way, needed to make the property saleable. There was no discussion as to how the proceeds from the sale of the two non-recreation-zoned parcels would be used.
Commissioner Filkoff reminded commissioners that the city cannot decide to sell properties zoned Recreation; that decision will be up to the voters in November because the Charter requires citizen approval to sell lands zoned Recreation.
According to Section 10A of the City Charter:
(1) The city commission shall have the power, after approval by referendum of the electors of the city, to sell, lease, for any period in excess of forty (40) years, encumber or otherwise transfer, the municipally owned swimming pool or pools, any and all recreational facilities, or any portion thereof, and all buildings, improvements and appurtenances thereunto appertaining, whether presently built or hereafter built, upon such terms and conditions as shall be approved by an affirmative majority vote of the city commission; and the city commission shall have the power to issue a warranty deed in the event of a cash sale and if sold on terms, to make a conveyance and take back a mortgage with final payment date not exceeding thirty (30) years from the date of the sale.
(2) The city commission shall have the power, after approval by referendum of the electors of the city, to sell, lease, for any period in excess of forty (40) years, encumber or otherwise transfer the municipally owned golf course or golf courses, or any portion thereof, and the buildings, improvements and appurtenances thereunto appertaining or used in connection therewith, whether presently built or hereafter constructed, upon such terms and conditions as shall be approved by an affirmative majority vote of the city commission; and the city commission shall have the power to issue a warranty deed in the event of a cash sale and, if sold on terms, to make a conveyance and take back a mortgage with the final payment date not exceeding thirty (30) years from the date of the sale.
(3)”Recreational facilities” as used in this section is hereby defined as any real property, including improvements thereon, owned by the City of Fernandina Beach and used or intended for use by the general public primarily for parks, playgrounds, amusements, resorts, pleasure, nature preserves, botanic or zoological conservatories, sporting events, pleasure boating, swimming, fishing or any other recreational activity.
(4)”Recreational facilities” as used in this section shall be designated by the city commission and will be described and identified by resolution.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.
August 1, 2013 10:17 p.m.