Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 6, 2019
The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) accepted two Warranty Deeds and one Quit Claim Deed for three vacant properties via unanimous vote at their November 5, 2019 Regular Meeting. The properties will be purchased with a combination of funds from the City of Fernandina Beach’s recently created Conservation Fund and North Florida Land Trust contributions to match the City’s contribution, including a $50,000 bequest from the Susan Laird estate .
The total assessed value for all three properties listed below is $260,439:
- Dodd property, 3.33 acres on Egans Creek, (Parcel Tax ID No.: 00-00-31-1616-0003-0000). Taxes for 2018 were paid in the amount of $1,340.60. Current assessment is $68,000.00;
- Episcopal Church property, 5.5 acres north of Atlantic Avenue at 11th Street and Dade Street (Parcel Tax ID No.: 00-00-31-1800-0217-0010). Taxes for 2018 are exempt. Currently assessed at $192,400.00.
- Floyd Garrett property, 1.58 acres also north of Atlantic Avenue at 11th and Dade Streets (Parcel Tax ID No.: 00-00-31-1800-0217-0060). No Taxes for 2018 are due on this property which is assessed at $39.00.
The actual purchase price for the lands was not disclosed during the meeting. However, the FBCC approved the purchase prices earlier by separate Resolutions. On March 5, 2019, the FBCC approved Resolution 2019-44, agreeing to purchase the Episcopal Church property for $340,000 and the Floyd Garrett property for $25,000. On July 16, 2019, the FBCC approved Resolution 2019-117, agreeing to purchase the Dodd property for $250,000. Acquisition of the properties has been done for the City by the North Florida Land Trust, which is contributing half the total purchase price of $615,000 as part of a 50-50 matching grant.
According to Marc Hudson of the North Florida Land Trust, settlement which will result in the City’s acquisition of three pieces of property to place in its Conservation land bank, is tentatively scheduled for November 12, 2019.
The parties agreed that the Episcopal Church land will be named “The Bishop John Freeman Young Park” in perpetuity.
In addressing some concerns that he has received from the Fernandina Beach community, Hudson explained that because the land is being acquired with privately-raised funds from the North Florida Land Trust for conservation purposes, the property must be maintained in a manner which protects the natural resources on the property, allowing for passive recreational and educational uses allowing for nature-based experiences, such as trails, boardwalks, overlooks, gazebos, interpretive signage and similar amenities, placed and constructed in a manner so as to minimize impacts to the natural resources. Should the City permit the property to be used, or use the property in a manner inconsistent with the Goals, the City “shall transfer to the North Florida Land Trust, its successor organization or assigns, fee interest in the real estate acquired hereunder sufficient to ensure that the Property is not developed and used in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Goals.”