Mike Lednovich for City Commission Seat 4, Fernandina Beach
EDITOR’S NOTE: A few weeks ago, we offered the seven Fernandina Beach City Council candidates an opportunity to submit a 1,000-word essay on whatever is on their minds about the city. This is the third essay submitted.
By Mike Lednovich
Philosopher George Santayana famously stated, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
I’m Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike Lednovich and for the last four years I’ve fought to preserve our city’s unique “Quality of Life” by correcting the mistakes of the past.
There have been, and continue to be, numerous challenges to preserve what makes Fernandina Beach such a special city. We face aggressive developers who want to build more new homes and townhouses. We have more than 1.2 million tourists that use city facilities/services and pay nothing to support their upkeep. And there is the exploding growth in Nassau County to contend with.
Previous city commissions routinely approved rezoning commercial properties into residential use. I voted 100 percent of the time against this practice and will continue to do so. Some examples are:
- I opposed deep-pocket developers who wanted to rezone commercial land for residential use to build 330 units on Amelia Island Parkway near Bailey Road. Eventually they gave up.
- I voted no on rezoning land on Lime Street where developers sought to build 12 townhouses.
In all, my opposition to rezoning prevented roughly 500 more houses or townhouses from being built in the city.
I pledge to protect our environment, tree canopy, wetlands and wildlife. Some past examples are:
- Votes that purchased and placed 35 acres of property into conservation.
- Strengthened the city’s tree ordinance with increased penalties for the illegal removal of trees.
- Introduced and passed an ordinance to ban smoking on city beaches/parks.
- Passed an ordinance blocking unscrupulous tree removal companies from going door-to-door to convince homeowners to take down healthy trees.
- Opposed destroying 6 acres of pristine city land for Simmons Road Park.
- Opposed rezoning 6.4 acres of Amelia Bluff land from Conservation to Low Density Residential.
Currently under my direction, the city attorney is working on a dune protection ordinance and a protected canopy tree road ordinance that would ensure future generations can enjoy the same quality of life we have today.
During my term in office, there have been numerous plans that would have negatively impacted our “quality of life.” I’ve opposed all of these efforts:
- I fought the Port of Fernandina’s attempted expansion into the city’s Historic District and signed an inter-local agreement prohibiting such expansion without city approval.
- I led the defeat of a plan to convert the city-leased Amelia River Golf Course into a luxury automobile racetrack.
- I voted against relocating youth sports fields, tennis courts and pickle ball courts from Central Park.
- I voted against plans to build commercial businesses and an amphitheater along the riverfront south of the boat ramp.
We’ve also made tremendous strides in improving city infrastructure and roads. Some examples are:
- Votes for the repair of the city marina and fuel docks as well as obtaining FEMA reimbursement for the repairs.
- Votes that resulted in the construction of a new seawall/boardwalk to prevent flooding on the south end of the marina property.
- I supported plans and funding for the reopening of Alachua Street to Front Street along with new sidewalks, railroad crossings and an underground storm water catch basin.
- Cast votes to fund new beach walkovers.
- I supported using city contingency funds to replace the Central Park main playground element that was removed because of safety concerns.
During the next four years, we must protect the city from storm surge and flooding by completing the riverfront seawall. We also must address flood prevention issues at the Escambia Slough, which is part of the drainage system for downtown Fernandina Beach, and at Atlantic Avenue at Egans Creek.
My goal during my term was to make city government more transparent to voters. To that end, I’ve published all important city documents on social media pages. I’ve corrected numerous misinformation posts on social media with facts. I meet with citizens, answer my emails and return all telephone calls.
As mayor and commissioner, I’ve addressed pressing problems such as the customer service issues at the Building Department, downtown music concerns, and protecting trees and dunes at construction sites, by holding workshops with public input.
There are many challenges ahead of us such as completing the riverfront flood protection; repairing/maintaining city buildings, parks and sports fields; identifying new revenue streams to relieve the burden of taxpayers and implementing solutions for additional parking and increased traffic.
I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you during my first term: thanks for your suggestions and encouragement. I humbly request your vote for Mike Lednovich’s Quality of Life efforts as City Commissioner, Seat 4 to continue to ensure our city remains a very special place.