BOCC Meeting – Nassau County residents 3% heavier than state average, tree canopy, athletic fields, and more . . .

By Cindy Jackson
August 13, 2019 9:27 p.m.

As is customary, the Board of County Commissioners met on the first Monday of the month — August 12, 2019 at 6PM.

First up was a resolution signifying Nassau County’s intention to submit practices to the Florida Department of Health for the 2019 Health Community Champion Recognition Program. Per the resolution, Nassau County residents weigh on average, 3% more than other Florida county residents.

Also on the agenda and unanimously approved was a resolution to declare Orange Avenue a Scenic/Canopy Road. Orange Avenue is located on Amelia Island in the district represented by Commissioner Aaron Bell. Related to the approval of that resolution was one to close Orange Avenue to vehicular traffic. In the course of the discussion as to how such a designation is made, the Commissioners agreed the process to designate a scenic/canopy road was not without a few flaws and to that end, a workshop will be held in the near future.

The Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution to divide some 216 acres, owned by Raydient Places and Properties, previously zoned as Open Rural, into fifteen residential lots varying in size from 3 acres to 41 acres in the Hilliard area.

Related to the property owners that are Rayonier/Raydient/Raydient Places and Properties, etc., was yet another parcel under discussion –216 acres in Callahan. That parcel was discussed earlier this year in the context of expanding athletic facilities in Callahan and at that meeting, the room was full of parents and coaches — and kids. The BOCC considered purchasing those 216 acres from Raydient/Rayonier for athletic fields in Callahan, and requested an appraisal of the property. The appraisal indicated that those 216 acres were worth over $1.5 million – despite the fact that over 82 acres were wetlands. Consequently, the BOCC voted negatively and by a vote of 5-0 instructed staff mot to pursue. Instead, Commissioners requested that staff go back and revisit a proposal known as the “Mizell Tract.”

Near the end of the meeting the Commissioners addressed television news reports about the closing of railroad crossings in Nassau County. County Attorney/County Manager Michael Mullin explained there is usually a two week notice when railroad crossings are to be closed. This time, the County received warnings just 10 days out. Commissioner Taylor, visibly frustrated, noted that there needs to be “a better process,” and Commissioner Leeper noted that it was “insane timing,” referring to the start of school. These crossings will be closed for three to five days so that CSX can do maintenance. The crossings will be closed for three to five days each for CSX to perform maintenance. County staff, personnel from the from Sheriff’s department and Fire and Rescue met with CSX officials to discuss ways to minimize disruptions to effected residents.

Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director. She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County. As a community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.

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