Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
(Originally published as part of a larger post covering actions of the Fernandina Beach City Commission Regular meeting held on August 18, 2015.)
The second reading of this ordinance required a public hearing that was conducted as a quasi-judicial hearing, meaning that all persons who provided testimony or comments did so under oath. While city staff opposed this modification as a violation of the underlying principles of Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) characterizing the Amelia Park development, proponents argued that land reserved for commercial development had lain fallow for 18 years and that there is no interest in such development in the current real estate market.
On the other hand, there is interest in additional residential development in Amelia Park. Changing the zoning would result in additional homes and more city tax revenues.
City Commissioners heard from the legal and land use planning representatives of the bank, which currently owns the parcels in question. Additionally, the President of the Amelia Park Neighborhood Association (APNA) reassured commissioners that after significant outreach efforts and many public meetings, the APNA Board voted unanimously to approve the change. Resident Bob Combs also spoke in support of the modification. No one spoke against the proposal.
The FBCC unanimously approved the ordinance on second and final reading.