Hickory Ridge PUD to address affordable housing needs

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 10, 2017 5:00 p.m.


No complaints from the neighbors + no wetlands = no problem. The Fernandina Beach City Commission unanimously approved on first reading on November 8, 2017, Ordinance 2017-25, which changes the city’s zoning map to provide for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay to approximately 5.10 acres located on S. 13th Street between Hickory Street and Fir Street. The project, known as Hickory Ridge, is intended to address unmet needs for more affordable housing in the city.

During the quasi judicial hearing on the agenda item, no one came forward to oppose the project. A second reading is required before final approval can be granted.

According to the developer’s Letter of Intent sent to the city on September 28, 2017, Gillette & Associates, Inc., agent for Simmons 9, LLC,

“The PUD will provide for multiple housing group types while also providing a unique “garden type” design. The existing R-2 zoning designation is a rigid residential zoning district that does not allow for this type of design flexibility. A reduction in setbacks is being requested in order to provide for additional tree preservation on site and allow for flexible housing product. In order to ensure the tree preservation goal is accomplished, a maximum building footprint of 1,100 sf is being proposed for the primary structure. A maximum 280 SF structure is being proposed for a garage element that is separate from the primary structure. This equates to a maximum aggregate building coverage of 1,380 SF per lot.

“The total open space that is proposed to be dedicated and maintained by the Homeowners Association for the development is 2.0 acres or 39% of the site. If maximum buildout occurred on every lot in accordance with the proposed maximum lot coverage, an additional 0.38 acres of open space will be present on the 41 lots in aggregate. This would achieve an overall open space yield of over 46% for the entire site. It is highly unlikely full lot coverage will be achieved for each lot within the proposed development, resulting in open space in excess of 46% of the total site.”

Hickory Ridge Planned Unit Development (PUD)

In the Staff Report considered by the Planning Advisory Board, Planning Manager Kelly Gibson wrote: “The applicant seeks to create a fee simple housing product to meet workforce housing demands within a centrally located area of the City. As part of the letter of intent for the PUD, the applicant has provided an economic analysis to demonstrate how the product would fulfill this need within the community.”

According to Commissioner John Miller, who attended the Planning Advisory Board hearing in October on the Hickory Ridge request, neighbors attended in support of the project, expressing safety concerns with the existing undeveloped parcel.




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2 Responses to Hickory Ridge PUD to address affordable housing needs

  1. Betsie Huben says:

    It would be awesome if the FO could dig into the topic of “workforce housing” and specifically how this project will meet that need as described in the developer’s application packet. Such information could really provide a springboard for future discussions about how to accomplish this around the island and in Nassau County.

  2. The last housing project, with the PUD concept is Shell Cove off of Citrona. During the first presentation at Commission, The Developer talked of a environmentally friendly environment. Which from what I’ve seen, it is. The other point he was speaking to, was the affordability of Shell Cove homes, so “first time buyers, young families, and empty nesters could afford them”. Sounded good to everyone in the Commission Chambers that evening. Finally affordable housing for the folks that work in our Restaurants,Hotels, in the Service industry on this Island. Just what this community needs Yahoo.!! But Wait, these “Affordable Homes” Have a cost of $250,000 to $325,000. Is this what we call affordable.? Seriously, Perhaps it’s affordable for someone making $75,000/yr. But folks making $20 bucks an hr. or two making $20/ hr. These are the housing developments “apartments/townhouses” that are needed on this Island. Please, the new commission, address this Issue.

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