By Tammi Bach
Fernandina Beach City Attorney
I have reviewed application materials, engineered plans, emails and agent authorizations submitted for the preliminary plat application for the above-referenced parcel identification numbers in the City of Fernandina Beach. I have concluded that this application is incomplete due to: 1) For parcel ID# 000031180000120150, the absence of a notarized statement authorizing a representative to act as an agent of the property owner (Josephine Tringali) with regard to a preliminary plat application (see Section 11.01.03(A)(4) of the Land Development Code), and 2) For parcel ID#’s 000031180000120100, 000031180000120050, 000031180000120210 and 000031180000120190, absence of notarized statement(s) of property owner(s) [Anthony J. Tringali Revocable Trust (the “Trust”) dated March 27, 2017 and successor trustees].
All of the parcel ID numbers referenced in this memorandum are included in the preliminary plat application and site plan submitted first to the City of Fernandina Beach Planning and Conservation Department in August 2022. These parcels include the parcel owned by Josephine Tringali (ID# 000031180000120150). The Technical Review Committee did not approve the site plan or preliminary plat in September 2022 but provided comments to Gillette & Associates who provided engineering guidance on the project for the property owners. No development order has been issued by the city for the above-referenced parcels. The city’s Planning and Conservation Department had received a notarized statement showing Gillette & Associates as the agent in September 2022. The Planning Advisory Board considered the preliminary plat application on December 14, 2022 and recommended denial to the city commission. In January 2023, as the city staff and Compass Group, Inc. (representing to staff that they were now the agent for property owners) prepared for the city commission to hear the preliminary plat application on February 7, 2023, I requested that Compass Group, Inc. provide the city with some proof that the Trustee of the Trust indeed had authority to bind the property owner(s) before the city commission heard the preliminary plat application request. Up to the 6:00 p.m. start time for the city commission regular meeting on February 7, 2023, I waited with Mr. Ron Flick for the presumed last notarized statement authorizing Mr. Flick and Compass Group to represent the property owners in front of the city commission for presentation of evidence and testimony under oath in the quasi-judicial hearing. This presumed last notarized statement needed for the hearing to proceed was not received. I explained to Mayor Bradley Bean that this preliminary plat could not be heard by the city commission without all property owner(s) providing notarized statements authorizing Compass Group, Inc. to represent their interests at this hearing. The applicant did not provide any written notice of withdrawal of the application for preliminary plat. I suggested that the preliminary plat be “pulled” from the agenda or otherwise not heard by the city commission because of the lack of agent authorizations. Therefore, it is my opinion that the preliminary plat application is incomplete in accordance with Section 11.01.03 of the Land Development Code (“LDC”). It is further my opinion that the recommendation made by the Planning Advisory Board on December 14, 2022 is null and void because it was based on an incomplete preliminary plat application without sufficient agent authorizations from the property owners. See Section 11.01.03(A)(4) LDC.
Pursuant to Section 11.03.01(A)(3) of the LDC, the applicant will have 30 days from the date of this memorandum (delivered via email to addressees above), until March 17, 2023, to provide a complete application for preliminary plat including notarized agent authorizations sufficient to prove that Josephine Tringali and the Trust, as property owners, have authorized Compass Group, Inc. or another agent to present a complete and sufficient preliminary plat application to the city’s Planning and Conservation Department to be considered by the Technical Review Committee and Planning Advisory Board. If the city does not receive a complete and sufficient preliminary plat application by March 17, 2023, the application will be deemed withdrawn and would have to be submitted with a new application fee to the Planning and Conservation Department. See Section 11.03.01(A)(4) of the LDC. A “withdrawn” application under 11.03.01(A)(4) of the LDC does not have the same meaning as “withdrawn” under Section 11.03.06 of the LDC. Put simply, if a complete and sufficient application is not submitted on or before March 17, 2023 for preliminary plat, it can be submitted at any time in the future with the payment of a new application fee and new process starting as of the date of submittal.