By Cindy Jackson
June 12, 2019 10:30 a.m.
June 10, 2019 was the most recent meeting of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners and while the agenda was long, the meeting was completed in just under an hour.
As is customary, all votes were unanimously approved. But on June 10th, the votes were 4-0, instead of 5-0, as Commissioner Aaron Bell was absent. As a result of his absence, Commissioner Bell had requested that a few items be postponed until June 19th. Those items concerned beach cleaning and votes regarding the appointments of individuals to the Code Enforcement and Canvassing Boards. However, at the suggestion of Commissioner Leeper, consideration of two other resolutions relating to land use amendments for properties near the Amelia Concourse were also postponed as the property involved is in Commissioner Bell’s District Two (South Amelia Island, Nassauville, O’Neil).
Noteworthy was the approval of a new ordinance relating to nuisance declarations for buildings or structures in the county. Back in 2000, the BOCC Board adopted Ordinance No. 2000-26 which established minimum standards governing the health and general welfare, maintenance, removal or demolition of unsafe buildings and adopted the 1985 Edition of the Standard Unsafe Building Abatement Code.
The board has been discussing this issue for quite some time, as noted by County Attorney Mullin and as a result, it became necessary to rescind Ordinance 2000-26 and adopt a revised ordinance to establish a current unsafe building abatement code in line with in the current Florida Building Code.
Commissioner Leeper added that “we have all received calls requesting the county go out and demo a building . . . and properties being an eyesore.”
While names and addresses were not discussed, a case involving individuals living in a home without electricity, without plumbing and in a structure that had been stripped of all wiring and siding, etc., was central to the discussion. The “old” ordinance was too vague to address the issue but with the new code in place, a resolution is expected.
In his closing remarks, Building Official Keith Ellis noted, “mobile, modular, and manufactured housing are now included, in the definition of building.”
When reached by email after the meeting, Building Official Keith Ellis said, “We do not have a record of every complaint received about unsafe structures. We estimate approximately 100 or so throughout the County.”
County Attorney Mullin also informed the BOCC that a fund would need to be in place to pay for demolition explaining that while a lien would be placed on a property in violation, the upfront costs of the demo would be borne by the County.
At the invitation of Commissioner Thomas Ford, Richard Crockett, Director of External Affairs from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gave a brief update of his department. Included in his presentation was a summary of what just his department does such as:
• managing over 1 million acres of forests on state lands
• safeguarding consumers and protecting them against fraud and scams, noting that a sweep of the State uncovered some 250 “skimmers” at gas stations which have since been removed
• guaranteeing food safety which includes examining 15,000 food samples each year,
• marketing Florida products through the “Fresh from Florida” campaign
Crockett also talked about the legalization of hemp, noting first-off, “Well, when I first heard about it, I had a lot of questions.” Crockett explained the legislature just approved its legalization, that rulemaking had commenced and it is anticipated that permits will be issued, perhaps by next year. Noting that hemp was a fiber, Crockett explained its uses were many – including the production of concrete. Florida is behind Kentucky and Tennessee in efforts to grow and market hemp.
To view a recording of the latest meeting of the BOCC, go to the recently updated website of the Nassau County Clerk of the County and Controller at
The next meeting of the BOCC is Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 9am.
Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director. She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County. As a community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.