Why the Secrecy on New Riverstone Offer?

Since May 22 of last year, Nassau County and Riverstone Properties have been at a legal impasse over 50 acres on which Riverstone wishes to build 85-foot tall condo towers. County zoning allows 45-foot heights.

Last Thursday County Commissioners met behind closed doors to review a settlement offer from Riverstone, and those doors remain closed as of Saturday.

Community reaction to the taller towers was overwhelmingly negative and remains so. And now, community activists think it’s high time the commissioners reveal what they are considering in the secret offer.

In a letter to commissioners, Lyn Panone of the Amelia Island Tree Conservancy and Corky Hoffman of the Sanctuary Homeowners Association said, “The attorneys with whom we have been consulting continue to underscore the strength of the county’s case against Riverstone.

“All agree that the actions taken by the commissioners to limit building heights on Amelia Island were sound, proper, and well done.

“The citizens of Nassau County have certainly made their interests and wishes clear with respect to the property. If a reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming from Riverstone, in the face of their difficult legal position, we hope that it reflects the expressed view of the citizens.

“If so, we look forward to working with you in support of such a settlement.”

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Troy Walker
Troy Walker (@guest_68239)
1 year ago

This past Thursday?

Robin Wells
Robin Wells(@rocknrobin12gmail-com)
1 year ago

Do you really trust this new county commission? Don’t forget they approved a trailer park on Sadler.

1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Wells

I’m assuming that the “trailer park” met all the requirements of the current zoning?

Paula Mutzel
Paula Mutzel(@paula-m)
1 year ago

What is all this cloak and dagger stuff about…quit with the games and fully disclose what’s happening as it happens.

John Findlay
John Findlay(@jfindlay)
1 year ago

The secrecy is troubling! This is an extremely important decision that will affect Amelia Island for decades, if not longer!

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago

Thanks for alerting us to this. The “agreement” that gave the developers the 11 85-foot towers almost got snuck past us before.

The Casual Observer
The Casual Observer(@betsie-huben)
1 year ago

The county has actually been generous by allowing 45 feet of height. The city adopted a similar ordinance in 2020 that properties located within 1,000 feet of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) cannot exceed 35 feet in building height. The only permissible encroachments are chimneys. Hopefully, the county will do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, and stand behind the measure they crafted and passed.

Democracy is dead
Democracy is dead (@guest_68267)
1 year ago

Whether at the federal level, state, city or county, Republicans are taking advantage in every branch of government. Secrecy is their thing. They dont want you to know who visits them. They dont want you to know where they go. Florida literally has a bill on the table to make all government travel information a secret.

1 year ago

While not favored by most, it is more favorable to the tax payers that the discussions are conducted in private. Anything said on the record can be used at a civil trial, if a settlement is not agreed upon.

Doug Mowery
Doug Mowery(@douglasm)
1 year ago
Reply to  Pirates4thewin

Yes….settlement discussions are not admissible normally. It usually helps active negotiations if you know things discussed won’t bite you in court.

But I may have been asleep…..has an actual lawsuit been filed?….or, are they just having talks to try to avoid one? If not, then these discussions should have a bit more transparency.

Lyn Pannone
Lyn Pannone(@lyn-pannone)
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mowery

Yes a lawsuit was filed last year.

Bob Tankel
Bob Tankel(@bob-tankel)
1 year ago

Matt Stoller writes a substack abut the dozens of cities and states that meet secretly, sign NDA’s, and give away taxpayer dollars by the billions to lure industry. While that may not be the case here, if it’s happening in secret, it’s far from best practice

Dave Lott
Dave Lott(@dave-l)
1 year ago

It is perfectly legal involving legal matters for the commissioners to meet in an executive session with the attorneys to discuss strategy. It would be impossible to do this initially in the open as the opposing side would know what that strategy is. When the case has been settled, the minutes, votes and documents from those executive meetings are open to the public.