Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
July 8, 2019 1:00 a.m.
On First Reading at their July 2, 2019 Regular Meeting the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) unanimously approved Ordinance 2019-15 providing for a citizen referendum on a City Charter Amendment that would amends Section 10A of the City Charter to add a third subsection regarding referendum for sale or lease of City-owned conservation land.
The exact language to be added:
A referendum election is required prior to sale, lease for a period of more than 40 years, or other transfer of City-owned conservation land which includes land burdened by a conservation easement and/or land that is in a conservation zoning district or has a future land use map designation of conservation. The City Commission must pass an ordinance by super-majority vote to place the matter on the ballot for voters to decide. The decision of the voters is binding on the City Commission. If approved by the voters, the City Commission has the authority to issue a deed for the property, or to issue such other documents as may be necessary to complete the transaction.
Commissioner Chip Ross had requested at a City Commission meeting in May 2019, that an Ordinance be drafted to amend the Charter to provide that a referendum be required to sell or lease for 40+ years any City-owned conservation land.
The Commissioners agreed that the referendum should be placed on the November 2020 General Election ballot.
The Ordinance will require a second reading prior to final approval.
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.