City to Defend Challenge to Amelia Bluff Project

By Adam Kaufman
Legal Analyst
May 14, 2019 9:31 a.m.

Entrance to Amelia Bluff development today from Citrona Drive across from Fernandina Beach High School. (File Photo)

On Tuesday May 14, the City of Fernandina Beach was served a petition filed on behalf of the Amelia Tree Conservancy and Conserve Amelia Now requesting an administrative hearing on the issue of whether the City’s April 16 amendment of its Future Land Use Map (FLUM) permitting the construction of the Amelia Bluff project on Citrona Drive is in compliance with Florida statutes.  The Amelia Bluff development is planned for 30 homes. The property was sold to the developers by the Nassau County School District.

City Attorney Bach said, “The City is working with its insurance carrier to assign defense counsel to defend this lawsuit.” City staff recommended the change to the FLUM because of mapping errors. The project had previously received a series of administrative and staff approvals.

Construction of the Amelia Bluff project will continue to be on hold pending a final determination of the issues raised by the Tree Conservancy and Conserve Amelia Now.

At the April 16 City Commission meeting, the developers of Amelia Bluff, represented by Wirt Beard, offered, as evidence of their commitment to the community, to contribute $10,000 upon the issuance of a building permit for every lot sold to the City’s Fernandina Beach Conservation Trust Fund to a total of $300,000 for the purchase of conservation land within the City.  The offer is contingent upon the resolution of all challenges and appeals associated with the project within 150 days of that meeting. The developer had earlier ceded portions of the property it purchased to the City for use as conservation land, committed to contribute an additional $115,000 to the City’s trust fund and has already constructed a new sidewalk on Citrona Drive at the Fernandina Beach High School.

The Petition is to be heard before the State Division of Administrative Hearings.  According to Bach a hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge 60 days from today.

To read previous article “FBCC votes 3-2 to approve FLUM change final plat for Amelia Bluff” by Suanne Thamm’s click here.

Adam Kaufman, Legal Analyst

Editor’s Note: Adam Kaufman, has been General Counsel, labor negotiator, and lobbyist for the Rochester City School; he was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo as Counsel, Associate Director and First Deputy Attorney General to a New York State Special Commission; he served as an Administrative Law Judge, mediator and Regional Director of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board; now retired, for the last 13 years he was a labor arbitrator and mediator. A graduate of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, he is a city resident.

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Chuck Hall
Chuck Hall (@guest_55013)
4 years ago

Just goes to show that you can’t please everyone all the time.

Trudie Richards
Trudie Richards (@guest_55014)
4 years ago

Is Kaufman the Amelia Bluff lawyer? So much for even an attempt at impartial reporting.

Stephen Coe
Stephen Coe(@stephen-coe)
4 years ago

That’s just snarky Trudie. IMO Adam is dispassionate in his reporting.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore(@barnes-moore)
4 years ago

Instead of worrying Amelia Bluff, which is a done deal and represents a relatively small parcel of land, we should be focusing on proposed plans to turn Amelia River Golf Course into a road track for car enthusiasts to race their street legal cars.Steve Leggett, who proposes to develop the 50 areas at the south end of the island as well as the golf course property, wants to build an “auto-centric development” to replace our beautiful wooded golf course. The project would include a private club house, complete with garages and cabanas for its members, a 200 room 4 star hotel with a 30,000 sf banquet room, another garage, a “road course track” around the perimeter of the golf course property for “street legal cars”, a go-cart facility, a bowling alley, and a museum. He is also considering an “olympic size pool venue” (possible water park?). This development would require two additional entrances to the property and create as many as 400 jobs.

Residents should keep a close watch on the activities of both City Council and
County Commission to express their concerns about the impact of these proposed
developments. Both proposals require significant changes to existing land use guidelines, so
let’s avoid another Amelia Bluff fiasco by making sure that any proposed variances are in the
best interest of our residents – not an outside real estate developer.

Steven Crounse
Steven Crounse (@guest_55022)
4 years ago

This is Insane.!! Do these people lay in bed at night, thinking up this stuff? Anyone on this Island ever been to a Formula One Race.? Forget that, anyone ever been to a formula one time trials days before the race. I have, I’ve crewed them, and lived 8 mile from Watkins Glen international race track on a lake. Now Watkins Glen Track is in the hills above the Glen, approx. 5 miles. There was a good reason for that. Noise Pollution. In the Village, during race day, and time trials you can ALWAYS hear the engines. A high whine, and crackling. This is not something anyone wants in this community. On our Lake, at a distance of 8 miles, if the wind was blowing out of the east, you would think the cars were right next door. Who ever came up with this nightmare has to be on drugs. City Commissioners, I sure as hell hope this idea is Dead on Arrival. I would think Crawford Diamond would be a proper location, if at all.