Neighbors of the Tringali property in downtown Fernandina Beach and their supporters announced yesterday they are appealing the Fernandina Beach City Commission’s May 16 approval of the “Third and Beech” townhouse development.
Called “Stop the Domino Effect,” the local community group says it firmly believes that the commission’s “approval for the townhome development to proceed violated the city’s Land Development Code (LDC) and disregarded the concerns and interests of the community.”
The appeal timeline was not immediately available. For more details, see related article.
The group’s press release is available below.
May 22, 2023
STOP THE DOMINO EFFECT FILES APPEAL AGAINST FERNANDINA BEACH CITY COMMISSION DECISION ON “THIRD AND BEECH” DEVELOPMENT [Fernandina Beach, Florida] – Stop the Domino Effect, a local community group dedicated to preserving the historic character of our neighborhoods, announced today that it has initiated the process of appealing the recent decision by the Fernandina Beach City Commission to approve the “Third and Beech” townhouse development. The group firmly believes that the City Commisson’s approval violated its own Land Development Code (LDC) and disregarded the concerns and interests of the community.
During the City Commission meeting held on May 16, 2023, the preliminary plat/replat application for the “Third and Beech” development, consisting of twelve townhomes, was approved in a four-to-one vote. However, the Domino Effect asserts that the decision was made without proper consideration of the LDC and without presenting “competent substantial evidence” to support the development’s compliance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
Attorney Ralf Brookes, representing the concerned citizens, expressed his belief that the City Commission violated LDC 1.03.05, which clearly outlines the requirements for approving such developments. Brookes recommended pursuing legal recourse and appealing the decision to a circuit court judge.
Merry Coalson, a resident and member of The Domino Effect, highlighted the group’s disappointment in the City Commission’s decision, stating that commission members had disregarded their sworn duty and ignored the provisions of the Land Development Code.
Commissioner Chip Ross, the sole dissenting vote during the quasi-judicial hearing, pointed out numerous instances where the City’s testimony failed to provide the required competent substantial evidence. He emphasized that the proposed development did not meet the standards set by the City’s Comprehensive Plan for ensuring compatibility with the Historic District.
In response to the City’s argument that the development did not require restoration of the property’s underlying lots of record, Attorney Bradford Clark argued that the application should have been subject to the provisions of Land Development Code 1.03.05. Clark cited the code’s explicit intent to prevent the demolition or subdivision of combined lots with single-family homes, thereby maintaining the historic neighborhood’s character.
Stop the Domino Effect believes that the City Commission’s decision was flawed and failed to uphold the established regulations and protections in place. They argue that the approval process deviated from the appropriate procedure and should have been subjected to review by the Board of Adjustment. The group intends to pursue an appeal to rectify this situation and ensure a fair and lawful outcome.
The community’s concerns regarding the “Third and Beech” development include potential negative impacts on the historic neighborhood affecting the small-town character of Fernandina Beach. There is also fear that property values for the historic homes on South 4th St. will be reduced as taller buildings being sited across the street will create an urban tunnel effect limiting access to sunlight and view corridors. Tree canopy will be lost, as well as increasing density, traffic, and flooding risks.
Stop the Domino Effect is resolute in its commitment to defending the rights and interests of the community, as well as preserving the unique historical identity of Fernandina Beach. The group will diligently pursue the appeal process to rectify the City Commission’s decision and restore faith in the adherence to proper regulations and procedures.
For more information and updates on the appeal process, please visit Stop the Domino Effect Now. Save Our Neighborhoods. | Facebook or contact Taina Christner at [email protected]