Sturges Wants Commission to Talk About Density

By Mike Lednovich

Vice Mayor David Sturges wants to discuss the definition of density in the city as it is written in the Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan at Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

Sturges, who operates a home construction and renovation business, has already voted to lower building department permit fees charged to contractors in a previous meeting.

“I’ve discussed the topic with Vice Mayor Sturges and would rather have him speak to them first at Tuesday’s meeting,” said City Planning and Conservation Director Kelly Gibson. “He has changes in mind and I believe he is looking for commission input (on those changes).”

The commission has the authority to direct staff to recommend changes in both the Land Development Code (LDC) and the Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan). Any revisions to the LDC and Comp Plan are first reviewed by the City’s Planning Advisory Board. Proposed revisions are then voted for approval by the City Commission.

Net density is currently defined in both the LDC and Comp Plan as “Net Density is determined by multiplying the “maximum allowable units per acre” by the “net buildable land area” expressed in acreage. “Net buildable land area” means those contiguous land areas under common ownership proposed for residential development, minus undevelopable environmentally sensitive areas, wetland and wetlands transitional areas, floodplains and waters of the state.

Lots adjoining an existing right-of-way may calculate half of the width of that right-of-way as part of the “net buildable land area” definition.”

Contacted by email and text message, Sturges did not respond for comment on his agenda discussion items.

Also included in his discussion are Land Development Code (LDC) – Section 1.03.04 Demolition of Structures on Substandard Lots and LDC Section 1.03.05 Construction or Demolition of Structures on Combined Lots.

“I believe he has issues with the current code and is looking to the commission for guidance,” Gibson said.

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Mark Tomes
Trusted Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
8 months ago

As I mentioned in another post, increasing density for the purpose of allowing more high-priced townhomes, condos, or apartments would be misguided. We need truly affordable housing for the people that work in our service and construction industries here on the island. This is most efficiently obtained through well-made, higher density housing projects. We don’t need more profit-mongering from developers, we need more compassion for our neighbors who work here, but have to travel long distances, away from their families, to work here.

Alan Hopkins
Noble Member
Alan Hopkins(@dawaves)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Housing projects on Amelia island?

Who pays for the affordable housing projects you propose? Obviously not the people who get to live in the “affordable housing” because oitherwise they would be able to afford the current market rate for housing. Also who gets to choose what individuals get to live in these units?

Please explain exactly how this will work.

PattyM
Active Member
PattyM(@pattym)
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

There is a big difference between “affordable housing” and “low income housing”, which it appears from your comment you are confusing the two. See 2023 Florida Statute Title XXX Social Welfare, Chapter 420, Housing, specifically 420.9071 (cited below). Based on income, it is very easy for a working family to afford/pay for “affordable housing” while not being able to afford a mortgage on a traditional home for sale at current market rates — especially on Amelia Island given the high prices of most homes.
(2)  “Affordable” means that monthly rents or monthly mortgage payments including taxes and insurance do not exceed 30 percent of that amount which represents the percentage of the median annual gross income for the households as indicated in subsection (20), subsection (21), or subsection (30).
(20)  “Low-income person” or “low-income household” means one or more natural persons or a family that has a total annual gross household income that does not exceed 80 percent of the median annual income adjusted for family size for households within the metropolitan statistical area, the county, or the nonmetropolitan median for the state, whichever amount is greatest. With respect to rental units, the low-income household’s annual income at the time of initial occupancy may not exceed 80 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size. While occupying the rental unit, a low-income household’s annual income may increase to an amount not to exceed 140 percent of 80 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size.
(21)  “Moderate-income person” or “moderate-income household” means one or more natural persons or a family that has a total annual gross household income that does not exceed 120 percent of the median annual income adjusted for family size for households within the metropolitan statistical area, the county, or the nonmetropolitan median for the state, whichever is greatest. With respect to rental units, the moderate-income household’s annual income at the time of initial occupancy may not exceed 120 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size. While occupying the rental unit, a moderate-income household’s annual income may increase to an amount not to exceed 140 percent of 120 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size.
(30)  “Very-low-income person” or “very-low-income household” means one or more natural persons or a family that has a total annual gross household income that does not exceed 50 percent of the median annual income adjusted for family size for households within the metropolitan statistical area, the county, or the nonmetropolitan median for the state, whichever is greatest. With respect to rental units, the very-low-income household’s annual income at the time of initial occupancy may not exceed 50 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size. While occupying the rental unit, a very-low-income household’s annual income may increase to an amount not to exceed 140 percent of 50 percent of the area’s median income adjusted for family size.

lehartgreen
Noble Member
lehartgreen(@lehartgreen)
8 months ago

Gosh. Wonder what his “issues” are with the current codes? Conflict of interest much?

Joyliz
Active Member
Joyliz(@joyliz)
8 months ago

Isn’t voting for lower permit fees to contractors a conflict of interest when you’re a Commissioner and a builder? Just sayin…

Douglas M
Noble Member
Douglas M(@douglasm)
8 months ago

I’m getting a feeling the next election cycle (2024) will result in some changes in FB and Nassau……

Bill Fold
Noble Member
Bill Fold(@bill-fold)
8 months ago

Sturges has got to go. That’s all there is to it. Name one thing he’s done or been involved in that’s helping the people of Fernandina Beach.