It’s master planning time again at the Port of Fernandina. It comes around every 10 years, and this year the port planners have released a draft plan.
At a recent city commission workshop before the regular meeting, City Manager Dale Martin put up some slides and mildly pointed out that the plan had not taken historic flood plain issues into account.
But it’s just a draft, and the commission moved on. (See accompanying story about master plan draft specifics.)
There followed at the regular meeting a lengthy discussion of inconsistent street lighting in the city (some bright white, some a cozier orange). It’s one of those little things that can drive some residents crazy and make the city look, well, not very put together. Commissioners agreed that a lighting plan is needed. (Something they also agreed on a few months ago.) Part of the problem is that the city controls lighting in some places, and other entities do so in other places. It depends on who owns the pole. Commissioners agreed that consultations should occur before a lighting plan can be created.
One striking passage occurred when two audience members and one commissioner sadly, even passionately, commented on partisan campaigning creeping into the commission runoff races Dec. 13. The point being that these seats are non-partisan, and voters should be focusing on what candidates are saying about city needs – rather than on their party affiliation. Heads nodded wisely around the chamber, and that was that.
Late in the session the city manager asked for guidance on the Brett’s Waterfront Café issue. City Engineer Charlie George has reported that, after many inspections of the structure, he has found it to be unsafe. The city moved to act on that recommendation earlier, but a judge quashed it on a procedural issue.
Now, Mr. Martin said, he is receiving interest from credible people in taking charge of the faulty building. Commissioners said the fair way to deal with that is to open it up for requests for proposals (RFPs). After much discussion, the commission asked the city manager to prepare an RFP for the Dec. 20 agenda, and commissioners agreed to move in favor of the RFP at that time and also to reinstate a Board of Adjustment code enforcement action at the same meeting.
Dec. 13 candidates take note: This train is moving. Be prepared.