Tree Conservancy Joins CARD in Suit Against Towers

On April 24, 2023, the Nassau County Commissioners agreed to permit Riverstone Properties to build up to 11 towers, each at least 85 feet high, at the south end of Amelia Island. Commissioner Alyson McCullough dissented.

On May 23, the Citizens Against Runaway Development (“CARD”) filed suit against Nassau County to prevent the settlement agreement from becoming effective. The Sanctuary Property Owners’ Association joined CARD in the suit.

Nassau County Attorney, Denise May, has retained a law firm in Tampa to represent the county. On June 19, the county filed its response to CARD’s suit in which it:

  • Asks Riverstone Properties to join with Nassau County against the citizen groups.
  • Challenges the right of CARD, supported by hundreds of residents on Amelia Island and elsewhere, to contest the county’s actions.
  • Demands that citizen groups opposing the towers pay attorney fees incurred by Nassau County.
  • Does not deny that the county has engaged in contract zoning, failed to follow required zoning procedures, or any other wrongdoing.

A response to Nassau County was filed by CARD on August 31. In it the Amelia Tree Conservancy has asked to join as a plaintiff opposing the agreement allowing the towers and other development.

Under the agreement approved by Nassau County on April 24, Riverstone would be allowed to build 11 towers at least 85 feet high, despite an existing ordinance limiting such structures to 45 feet. The County has also voluntarily surrendered many important rights to Riverstone, including:

  • The right to measure building heights from finished grade, which can be much higher than the existing natural grade.
  • Freedom, in perpetuity, from any future county ordinances involving zoning.
  • The right to erect at least four lighted billboards (13 feet high) along scenic portions of A1A.
  • Freedom, in perpetuity, from any future county ordinances involving tree protection.
  • Setbacks for 85-foot towers as narrow as 25 feet from adjacent property lines.
  • Tax credits of more than $11,000,000 for donating eight acres of the property, which include lowland, wetland, and unbuildable land.
  • The right to build within only 20 feet of the state’s Coastal Control Line.
  • A payment of $250,000 from the county to Riverstone.

CARD will do its best to keep citizens informed of developments in this matter. The county has not made any public announcements concerning its actions and is not expected to do so.

To learn more, go to:

9 Comments
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KrisN
KrisN(@krisn)
8 months ago

The link to CARDamelia.org goes to .com — need to fix that!

Kathy Blacklock
Editor
Active Member
Kathy Blacklock(@blacklock)
8 months ago
Reply to  KrisN

Thanks for that! It’s been fixed.

lucyp74
Noble Member
lucyp74(@lucyp74)
8 months ago

Much like the Wildlight development, this horrendous project has given the developers the upper hand under the guise of “we have to because of Bert Harris Law”. Now SB 540 has been passed stating that whichever side loses in court will be responsible for the other side’s fess (attorneys, etc) to make it cost prohibitive for this sort of case to proceed. I am PLEASED to see this ROTTEN deal being challenged! Once again, allowing such a development “just because we have to” IS WRONG!! They DID NOT have to concede to 85’ towers, to elevated site above surrounding areas (as is the current norm around here!!!), destruction of old growth trees which IS not in compliance with the tree ordinance!! It ALL flies in the face of the LAWS on the books but they do not seem to apply to developers. EVER!!

Chris244
Noble Member
Chris244(@chris244)
8 months ago

All you have to do is just read these two bullet points to understand the irony here:

  • Asks Riverstone Properties to join with Nassau County against the citizen groups.
  • Challenges the right of CARD, supported by hundreds of residents on Amelia Island and elsewhere, to contest the county’s actions.

A representative government group is soliciting support from a developer to fight the interests of its citizens. Think about that!

Betsie Huben
Noble Member
Betsie Huben(@betsie-huben)
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris244

This tells you all you need to know about YOUR “elected representatives”.

Mark Tomes
Trusted Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
8 months ago

Please support these citizen group and the HOA to oppose the development agreement. And in the big picture, think about the consequences of who you vote for. Supporting conservation-minded candidates (not just those giving lip service to conservation, as do most Republicans) has many other positive and far-reaching consequences.

jaxshark
jaxshark(@jaxshark)
8 months ago

WOW this publication censors any post that differs from their position ! Reminds me of Twitter and Facebook a couple of years ago.

RichardCain
Noble Member
RichardCain(@richardcain)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Phillips

I haven’t measured but from observation … aren’t several of those condo buildings in the Omni/Plantation area … along the beach … in excess of 45 feet? One can see them clearly from the bridge in the distance.