2700 Atlantic Avenue ready for development as community commercial project

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 24, 2017 9:00 a.m.


On First Reading at their January 17, 2017 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) approved amendments to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and the Zoning Map for a parcel of land totaling 4.73 acres located at 2700 Atlantic Avenue. All commissioners except John Miller voted to approve the amendments.

This site is currently zoned medium density residential (R-2) and previously supported a 33,000 square foot adult daycare center. However, that building was recently demolished following several years of vacancy. The applicant—AICC, Inc.—plans to redevelop the property for commercial purposes, changing the zoning to community commercial (C-1). The property is adjacent to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and backs up to the Pirates Cove subdivision. Its location across Atlantic Avenue from Fort Clinch State and near Main Beach is capable, according to city staff, of supporting resort style commercial development. Both city staff and the Planning Advisory Board approved the requests.

Ron Flick, in representing the applicant before the FBCC, did not provide a specific, intended use for the property. Such disclosure is not required to accompany applications for land use and zoning changes. However, Flick seemed to suggest that the property would be redeveloped to contain possibly a hotel and resort related commercial activity. He said that the project would be moved closer to the street, both to become more pedestrian friendly and to protest existing vegetation and the dune system. Such development plans also minimize impact on the residential property to the south. Parking for both guests and employees will be provided on site.

Flick provided this as an example of a similar project his company has worked on. Note relationship to street and landscaping.

Len Kreger

Vice Mayor Len Kreger asked for confirmation that proposed development would recognize the 35-foot height limit and protect the dune system. Flick agreed. He also acknowledged, in response to a concern raised by Commissioner Tim Poynter that the property in question does not extend to South Fletcher Avenue and cannot be combined with property on South Fletcher. He expressed intent to work with surrounding property owners. Commissioner John Miller expressed concerns on behalf of residents who border the property. Flick acknowledged the concerns, adding that the project will maintain the 15-foot buffer as required by code.

Commissioners Tim Poynter and John Miller

“We are neighbors,” he said. “The idea is to be able to integrate the natural system and use it to your advantage. There are a lot of wonderful trees. We hope to maintain a wider buffer and keep the vegetative buffer that exists along that R-1 area.” Miller seemed to understand Flick’s vision, but said that he was not in favor of the proposal without seeing actual plans.

Kreger said that he would recommend approval. “We’ve been trying for years and years to develop the Main Beach area, and this seems like something [that would help]. The Coastal Uplands Protection Zone will actually help protect the residential areas. The elimination of the vacant nursing home, plans for Main Beach restaurants, will actually help make the area more attractive. It’s not very attractive right now.”

The requested zoning change would make the property consistent with other zoning in the area and is consistent with the Economic Development Section of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

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Dave Lott
Dave Lott(@dave-l)
7 years ago

Fantastic location for lodging and visitor amenities. I am sure that Ron will do a first class development. As the Lakewood subdivision found out years ago, a 15′ buffer isn’t really much especially if all the undergrowth is cleared out, so hopefully a wider buffer can be supported.