Port Authority Master Plan update – Public Hearing November 12 before PAB

City of Fernandina Beach Press Release
Submitted by Kelly N. Gibson, Senior Planner
November 3, 2014 2:00 p.m.

portThe City of Fernandina Beach is working with the Nassau County Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) to comply with Florida law requirements for updating the Port of Fernandina Master Plan and its associated Comprehensive Plan policies. Nassau County OHPA has been working with a consultant to comply with statutory requirements. The OHPA provided the City with a draft copy of the Port Master Plan and its associated Comprehensive Plan policy amendments in February and a second version was provided to staff in late June. Changes have been made following comments received from August to September and the latest documents prepared for Planning Advisory Board (PAB) to review and consider may be located at www.fbfl.us/CompPlan.

The PAB will consider the Port Master Plan with its most recent changes and associated Comprehensive Plan Amendments as board business at its regular meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. in Commission Chambers, Fernandina Beach City Hall, 201 Ash Street.  As is consistent with State Law, advertising of the PAB meeting regarding this topic consists of a published ad and posted agenda. Following PAB consideration the City Commission will review the Port Master Plan at first reading of an ordinance that will then transmit the Master Plan for formal review by State Agencies. Reviewing agencies include the Northeast Florida Regional Council, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Department of State Division of Historical Resources, St. Johns River Water Management District, Department of Education, and Nassau County Growth Management Department. After state review, the document will return to the City Commission for a second and final reading.

In July, City staff circulated the document for a courtesy level review among state reviewing agencies, obtained feedback, and provided the information back to OHPA via their consultants. The Port Master Plan Update and associated amendments were initially presented to the Planning Advisory Board (PAB) August 13, 2014.  At that meeting, the PAB created a 3-member subcommittee to review the documents and collect public comments. The PAB subcommittee met on three dates in September to discuss various topics and concerns raised by citizens. Public input was permitted at all meetings. Comments received by email through September 8, 2014 were compiled into a single document and provided to the OHPA for their consideration at the OHPA Regular meeting held on September 10, 2014.

The OHPA subsequently requested a meeting with the PAB and City Staff. The meeting was held on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. PAB members were not present since the location was outside of the jurisdictional limits. The City Attorney and Senior Planner attended on behalf of the City. The primary issue presented by Staff was concern with action items contained in the Plan to fill wetlands. These action items would be inconsistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan language to disallow filling of wetlands. The OHPA directed changes to the document addressing these concerns through a resolution (2014-04) passed at their regular meeting held on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

The changes to the document by the Port’s consultant following OHPA Resolution 2014-04 are as follows:

  • Added subtitles “A REALM OF POSSIBLITIES” “Data and Strategic Analysis performed as mandated by FS 311.14(2)
  • References to the OHPA Master Plan now include the word “strategic”
  • Appendix “B” changed to contain Port History and Charter discussion
  • Executive Summary contains a discussion on the SIS and the Port’s position as an “emerging” SIS facility
  • Footnote added to Phase 2 –Site Layout Figures contained in the Executive Summary and the Section 5 corresponding figures. Notes read as “*These areas were previously permitted under FDER Permit #451730689 with mitigation completed. This permit has since expired and would require filing a new permit. The intended use for this area may occasionally include pre-staging cargo but would not be considered a cargo deck or container laydown area.”
  • Footnote added to Phase 3- Site Layout Figures contained in the Executive Summary and Section 5 corresponding figures. Notes read as “*This is part of a designated conservation easement and not permitted for fill. Filling in this area would be inconsistent with OHPA Resolution 2014-4 (Appendix H). Alternative efficiency improvements may be identified over time.”
  • Footnotes added to tables to clearly note that Dade Street connects to the Port
  • Appendix “G” added to demonstrate consistency with FS 311.14
  • Minor revisions to some of the proposed Comp Plan policies to be contained in sub-element 5P as requested through citizen input.
  • Added Appendix “H” Resolution 2014-04
  • Link 48 on all transportation tables revised to reflect an undivided highway. The prior error resulted in Link 48 not being “deficient” and promoted changes to Figures 2.2-5, 2.2-6, 6.1-5, 6.1-7, 6.1-8, 6.1-10, 6.1-11, 6.1-15 and 6.1-16
  • A footnotes was added to Table 6.1-8 to provide source of the 1.5 passenger car equivalency
  • Tables 4.5-2 and 5.2-1 revised for consistency

City Staff will analyze the documents provided for consistency with statutory requirements and provide a formal staff report prior to the PAB meeting. State law requires that all Deepwater ports, including the Port of Fernandina, to comply with the following four Statute Sections.

1. Section 163.3177(6)(b), Florida Statutes, identifies different levels of transportation analysis that must be included in the local government’s comprehensive plan, based on the size and location of the local government.

2. Section 163.3177(6)(g)8, Florida Statutes,  requires that the comprehensive plan’s coastal management element must “direct the orderly development, maintenance, and use of ports identified in Section 4.03.021(9) to facilitate Deepwater commercial navigation and other related activities.” This requirement can be addressed in the port master plan.

3. Section 163.3178(2)(k), Florida Statutes, requires port master plans to be included in the local government’s coastal management element. It notes that port master plans must identify existing port facilities and any proposed expansions. To the extent that they are applicable, port master plans must also address the following requirements:

  1. Provide a land use and inventory map of existing coastal uses;
  2. Analyze the environmental, socioeconomic, and fiscal impact of development;
  3. Analyze effects of existing drainage systems on estuarine water quality;
  4. Outline principles for hazard mitigation and protection of human life;
  5. Outline principles for protecting existing beach and dune systems;
  6. Outline principles to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe development;
  7. Identify public access to shoreline areas and preservation of working waterfronts;
  8. Designate coastal high-hazard areas and mitigation criteria;
  9. Outline principles to assure that public facilities will be in place; and,
  10. Mitigate the threat to human life and protect the coastal environment.

4. Section 163.3178(3), Florida Statutes, identifies eligible port projects both on the port and within three(3) miles of the port that are not considered to be Developments of Regional Impact if they are consistent with the port master plan that is in compliance with Section 163.3178(2)(k), Florida Statutes.

To download the Port Master Plan and all reference documents, including public comments received through September 8, 2014, please go to www.fbfl.us/CompPlan, or for more information contact Kelly N. Gibson, Senior Planner at (904)310-3141 or [email protected]

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